Treatments for stage 2 nasopharyngeal cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 2 nasopharyngeal cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.


Chemoradiation is the main treatment for stage 2 nasopharyngeal cancer. In chemoradiation, chemotherapy is given during the same time period as radiation therapy. Each treatment makes the other more effective.

Chemoradiation therapy for stage 2 nasopharyngeal cancer uses cisplatin and external beam radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy

You may be offered radiation therapy for stage 2 nasopharyngeal cancer if you can’t tolerate chemoradiation and its side effects. External beam radiation is given to the site of the tumour followed by preventive radiation to the lymph nodes in the neck (cervical lymph nodes).

The type of external beam radiation therapy used for stage 2 nasopharyngeal cancer is usually intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).


Chemotherapy with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU) is often given after radiation or chemoradiation therapy to lower the chance that the cancer will come back (recur).

Clinical trials

Talk to your doctor about clinical trials open to people with nasopharyngeal cancer in Canada. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society . Nasopharyngeal Cancer . 2015 :
  • National Cancer Institute . Nasopharyngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) Health Professional Version . 2015 :
  • 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.