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Nasopharyngeal cancer

Nasopharyngeal cancer treatment at GenesisCare

We are specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including nasopharyngeal cancer. We have teams of highly trained cancer specialists who are experts in this disease. They work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.

Chapter 1

Treatment overview

Treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer may include radiotherapy, surgery or chemotherapy. We combine this with consultant-led integrative care, such as wellbeing therapies and psychological support, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Our qualified physiotherapists and wellbeing consultants will carefully plan these therapies tailored to your needs by working with you and your consultant.

Nasopharyngeal cancer develops in the nasopharynx – the upper part of the throat that connects the back of the nasal cavity to the back of your mouth. According to Cancer Research UK, there are only 250 new cases of nasopharyngeal cancer in the UK each year, however, it’s important you seek early advice as family history is an important risk factor for this condition among some populations. For many nasopharyngeal cancer patients, early diagnosis and treatment can improve their outcome.

We are the UK’s leading specialist private cancer care provider. By choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together, with you, to decide the best personalised care plan for your diagnosis.

It is our commitment to offer world-class care to every patient with cancer.

How is nasopharyngeal cancer treated?

There are a number of options of treatment available for nasopharyngeal cancer at GenesisCare, such as:

  • Surgery – removal of cancerous cells and surrounding tissues
  • Radiotherapy – high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs which destroy the cancerous cells

Contact us

These web pages provide more information about nasopharyngeal cancer treatment at GenesisCare. If you would like to contact us in confidence, we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Contact us


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Chapter 2


How is nasopharyngeal cancer diagnosed?

At GenesisCare we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, and we understand that this can be a very worrying time. Our diagnosis services are world-class, and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that symptoms can often be caused by other conditions, not nasopharyngeal cancer. But whatever your diagnosis, we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay.

If you’re concerned about nasopharyngeal cancer symptoms, we offer fast access to specialist nasopharyngeal cancer diagnostics and expert consultants who specialise in conditions affecting the head and neck, such as the nasopharynx, nasal cavity and throat. They’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic tests such as a nasopharyngoscopy, biopsy or imaging scans (CT, PET/CT, MRI and ultrasound).


Nasopharyngeal cancer symptoms

Many people with nasopharyngeal cancer don’t develop any symptoms until the condition has reached an advanced stage. These signs are also more often caused by other conditions, making nasopharyngeal cancer tricky to diagnose.

Symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer may include:

  • A blocked or stuffy nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • A lump in the neck
  • Loss of hearing
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Fluid in the ear
  • A hoarse voice
  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Numbing in the lower part of your face
  • Weight loss

Having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have cancer, but it’s best to speak to your doctor. If you have any concerns, you should seek medical advice or book an appointment through our Rapid Access Head and Neck Service.

Rapid Access Head and Neck Service

Our specialist team of head and neck consultants can assess and diagnose conditions quickly so you can get the answers you need and plan any treatment immediately.
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Chapter 3


Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. It’s the main treatment type for nasopharyngeal cancers. You may have it on its own or in combination with chemotherapy (chemoradiation).

At GenesisCare, we are the leading private provider of radiotherapy in the UK and offer world-class expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues.

Your treatment will be governed by our expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), consisting of oncologists, radiotherapists and medical physicists, who work together to ensure that you receive only the best possible care.

Radiotherapy techniques for nasopharyngeal cancer

Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a modern radiotherapy technique that directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. Together with surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT), it’s possible to precisely target areas of cancer, adjusting the beam and intensity of the radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid healthy tissues. Side effects of radiotherapy occur when healthy tissues receive radiation, so using this technique helps to limit the dose to tissues and organs surrounding the tumour. At GenesisCare, we offer VMAT wherever possible as it is widely recognised to be the highest standard of care currently available for patients needing this type of radiotherapy.

We also offer palliative VMAT radiotherapy for those living with advanced nasopharyngeal cancer, where it has spread elsewhere in the body, to improve pain and increase mobility. We understand that fast access to palliative care is paramount and can usually provide treatment within 48 hours of a planning imaging scan.

Side effects of radiotherapy

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you start your course of radiotherapy, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these.

Advanced radiotherapy
Chapter 4


Surgery is not a common treatment for nasopharyngeal cancers, however, it may be required to treat some rare types of cancer, or if your cancer has come back soon after radiotherapy.

Your consultant may also recommend surgery to relieve symptoms if your cancer cannot be cured to improve your quality of life, for example, if your cancer is blocking part of your nose and causing breathing difficulties.

Our consultants include expert surgeons from both local and nationally renowned hospitals and will work together with other cancer specialists to decide the best course of treatment for you. If your consultant recommends nasopharyngeal surgery, this can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. You can then continue your other treatments at GenesisCare.

There are various procedures for nasopharyngeal surgery, and your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate technique depending on the size and stage of your tumour.

Surgery side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these.

Chapter 5

Drug treatments

At GenesisCare, we offer all drug therapies that can be used to treat and manage nasopharyngeal cancers. Depending on how these treatments are given to you, you may need to attend one of our private chemotherapy suites which are staffed by our specialist nurses. Our compassionate nursing teams are available 24/7 on a dedicated on-call telephone service and can answer any queries during your treatment. They’ll be able to provide advice about side effects or symptoms and help arrange appropriate medical care when needed.

Our centres have all received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark to reflect the quality of care we provide for people living with cancer.

These drug treatments are also called systemic anti-cancer therapies. Our expert teams continually review and assess new treatments to make these available to GenesisCare patients as early as possible.

Chemotherapy for nasopharyngeal cancer

Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It’s not commonly used on its own to treat nasopharyngeal cancers, but you may have it before radiotherapy reduce the size of your tumour.

Chemotherapy is usually delivered alongside radiotherapy (chemoradiation) as it makes cancerous cells more sensitive to radiotherapy. Chemoradiation can be used to treat nasopharyngeal cancers that have grown into the lymph nodes or tissues surrounding your nasopharynx.

Palliative care

If your cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer. At GenesisCare, you can receive palliative drug treatment for advanced nasopharyngeal cancer, to reduce the size and progress of your cancer and ease any symptoms.

Personalised medicine

For some advanced cancers we use specialist tests, such as liquid biopsy or genomic testing, to understand the genetic make-up of cancer cells. This helps us to identify which drugs are available to work against the particular genetic mutations in a cancer, allowing us to start effective treatment without delay.

There may also be opportunities to access clinical trials for the newest treatments for ­­­­ nasopharyngeal cancer.

Drug treatment side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you before you start your treatment, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these.

Chapter 6

Integrative care

At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that includes access to life-changing therapies which are proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. These therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as the specific side effects of treatment.

Exercise medicine

Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, such as by improving strength and reducing fatigue. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app. They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres.


We also offer a wellbeing expert and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. This service is available to all ­­­­­ nasopharyngeal cancer patients at any of our 14 UK centres.

Chapter 7

Why choose GenesisCare?

GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for nasopharyngeal cancer treatment, you’ll be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant oncologists, surgeons, and radiotherapists. They’ll design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.

Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care with meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here.

We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.