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Nasopharyngeal or para nasal cancer symptoms

mililani
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2008

Hello folks,

My father has been having persistent blood in his nose. Whenever he puts a swab up there, it comes out with some blood. This has been going on for 3 weeks. He also has been having on and off headaches for the past 2 weeks. He also has allergies, and have been using a steroidal nasal spray for the past 2 years. We have an appt. with the GP at Kaiser, but, i'm kind of worried. Do these sound like common symptoms of cancer? I have a friend that died of nasopharyngeal cancer, and had Kaiser as her health plan. Kaiser sucks. They basically ignored her symptoms for over a year until it became full blown stage 4 cancer. She had a lump on her shoulder that they finally biopsied. I'm not letting something like that happen to my dad. Can anyone give me any pointers, or tips, on what we should say or do to get the right sort of tests?

Aloha

HAWVET's picture
HAWVET
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

Aloha Mililani, I assume from Oahu

I assume your dad has been seeing a physician the past two years unless that steroidal nasal spray is over the counter drugs. May be that is the cause. That would be good news. The not so good news is the symptoms are exactly like mine.

I did have Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC) and had seen a series of doctors. My symptoms were persistent coughing out blood (also blowing out from my nose) and on/off headaches primarily in the area directly in the lower back part of my head (directly in back of the tip of my nose). I was living on -Aleve-. My medical plan allowed me to visit specialists without a referral. I visited the only two Otorhinolryngolocgists available (Long name for that ear, nose, throat specialist) and my regular physician.

Several months later, I told my doctor that the headache was getting bad and I was spitting out more blood. He finally arranged to have me scanned that one morning. While in conversation with the X-ray tech, I told him about my head ache. The doctor had ordered a head scan only. Because of my conversation with him, he scanned my head down to an area just below my nostril area.

I went back up to see my doctor and told him to call me at work. He had already been called and the radiologist had confirmed I had a growth. This was the shock of my life. I was immediately sent to see an Otorhinolryngolocgist . He awaited the pictures.

In my previous visit, he had looked up with that small scope inserted less than an inch up my nose and seen nothing. With the pictures, he took out his long scope. He sprayed something in both of my nostrils to sort of numb it. After a few minutes, he inserted that long scope. I do not know the name of the medical procedure for this viewing nose scope test. He then took a sample which later was confirmed to be NPC.

I noted that he has an appointment with a GP. Does Kaiser allow him to choose or have a regular physician? I believe your dad needs to be referred to an Otorhinolryngolocgist. He should be able to scope out his nose and see where the bleeding is coming from. After I thought about it, my headache was more like pain in the back of my head.

If he does only that short scope test, I believe it will be a case like mine. The doctor would probably not see anything. If he cannot see anything, then I would insist on a long scope test. My next recommendation is continue on until the doctors definitely find out what is wrong. If necessary, get a second opinion. Knowing what I went through, I would gladly pay, if necessary. A later diagnosis will lead to more serious after effects. Hope this helps.

Aloha!

mililani
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2008

Aloha Hawvet,

Have you been to Oahu before? Seems like you know the area.

Much thanks for all the info! I'll be glad to use it to help figure out what's the problem with my dad.

Just out of curiousity, was that a regular Xray that was done, or an MRI?

Kaiser sucks. Most of the time, you will need to see the primary and hopefully get referred. I'll be going to the hospital with him today.

How long have you been a survivor for?

train-nut
Posts: 101
Joined: Jun 2008

Hawvet just gave you a boatload of great information. Try Kaiser in an expedited manner. If not satisfied pay a good specialist to do an endoscopic exam. It's a few hundred dollars...well worth it just to reduce anxiety. My best to your Dad. Like me, he has a wonderful daughter.

HAWVET's picture
HAWVET
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

Hello Mililani,

I guess you did not conclude from my name HAWVET that it stands for Hawaii Veteran. I was born and raised in the islands. Did your dad serve in Vietnam? I was trying to establish an Agent Orange relationship?

The tumor was discovered with a CAT or CT scan. I do not believe an XRAY would see it. It was the first time I saw head scan pictures which look like your head was sliced and viewed from the top of your head.

I flew to Oahu and was treated at Queens cancer facilities in the basement floor. My radiation oncologist was from Queens. My chemo oncologist was a doctor in the physicians building in back of Queens. At the time of my treatment, Queens only had radiology facilities. I finished my treatment in June 1998.

I was scanning every six months after treatment and the tumor finally disappeared a few years later. There is more to this part.

Before leaving Queens, I asked my oncologist whom would she see for follow-up checkup if she had NPC. She gave me the name of an Otorhinolryngolocgist in the physicians building. I went to see him about a year later and I liked the guy. I flew in and he said there is not much that could be done and I should continue to see my island doctor to save travel expenses.

Aloha,

Johnny

mililani
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2008

Hey Johnny,

Which island do you live on? My family all live on Oahu, but I moved to California for work. I often come back to visit, though, and miss it quite alot. Someday i'll be back for good.

No, my dad didn't serve in Nam. I wouldn't doubt Agent Orange as being a carcinogen. My Vietnamese friends say that cancer is really common in Vietnam in the areas that were sprayed.

My dad and I just got back from the ENT. He did the long scope test and found it all clear. The bleeding was coming from his septum. It looked like a blood vessel broke and he ended up cauterizing it. We thought there was a growth on the septum, but it turns out that was just how his bone grew. I didn't consider this, but my dad has been going to the sauna every day for the past 2 months. The doc said that his nasal passages were real dry, and that this probably caused the ruptured blood vessel.

We're schedule to do a CT scan tomorrow to make sure nothing else is there. I think my dad may be ok--I hope.

Wow, 10 years?? That's awesome! Johnny, you the man! By the way, are you Chinese, by any chance? My friend that died of NPC was only 32 when she was diagnosed, and the ENT said it's common amongst Chinese and SE Asians. She was Chinese too.

HAWVET's picture
HAWVET
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

Mililani,

Thanks for the feedback. I do hope your father is cleared of cancer with the scan. I live on Kauai and am of Filipino ancestry.

My Oncologist did tell me that NPC can be found more in China and North Africa. I did a lot of research, but lost my claim with the VA. The problem with NPC was that there were too few cases to make a decision whether there was a higher incidence rate comparing Vietnam veterans with the rest of the population.

I seldom am on this forum since there are so few postings. I check it once in a while and just happened to read your posting. Let us know the results.

Johnny

argosyrose
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2008

Hello Mililani
I was diagnosed with Nasopharyngeal cancer in 2006. The test that recognized it was a TISSUE MRI. My doc says it must be TiSSUE MRI or it won't be detected. My doc told me she would have to about kill me, to cure me, but it can be done. Well I am here today to say she was right!
I will keep your dad in my prayers.

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