If nasopharyngeal cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the nasopharynx to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If nasopharyngeal cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • lymph nodes in the neck (cervical lymph nodes)
  • the pharyngeal wall
  • the oropharynx
  • the hypopharynx
  • the nasal cavity and sinuses
  • the base of the skull
  • cranial nerves
  • the eye
  • jaw muscles
  • the skull
  • the bone
  • the lung
  • the liver
  • the brain (rarely)

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Nasopharyngeal Cancer. 2015: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/nasopharyngeal-cancer.html.
  • Hu K, Chan A, Costantino P, Harrison L . Cancer of the nasopharynx: General principles and management. Harrison LB, Sessions RB, Kies MS (eds.). Head and Neck Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014: 22A: 588 - 617.
  • Ng WT, Ngan RKC, Chan SH, et al . Management of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Bernier J (ed.). Head and Neck Cancer: Multimodality Management. Springer; 2016: 26: 445 - 473.