Nasopharyngeal Cancer: Screening

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about screening for nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). You will also learn the risks and benefits of screening. Use the menu to see other pages.

Screening is used to look for cancer before you have any symptoms or signs. Scientists have developed, and continue to develop, tests that can be used to screen a person for specific types of cancer. The overall goals of cancer screening are to:

  • Lower the number of people who die from the disease, or eliminate deaths from cancer altogether

  • Lower the number of people who develop the disease

Learn more about the basics of cancer screening.

Screening information for nasopharyngeal cancer

Regular health and dental screenings are important for people who routinely drink alcohol, currently use tobacco products, or have used tobacco products in the past. People who use alcohol and tobacco should receive a general screening examination at least once a year. This is a simple, quick procedure in which the doctor looks in the nose, mouth, and throat for abnormalities and feels for lumps in the neck.

If anything unusual is found, then the doctor will recommend a more extensive examination using 1 or more of the diagnostic procedures described in the Diagnosis section. When detected early, cancer of the head and neck has a much better chance of being cured.

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs. It explains what changes or medical problems NPC can cause. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.