Can Nosebleeds Be A Sign of Cancer

All roads lead to Rome, and all online symptom searches lead to cancer. It’s a fact of life, and one that seems to get more common with age. Whether you’re suffering from chronic migraines or have a particularly aggressive hangnail, if you search for long enough, you’ll be convinced that you have some form of incurable cancer.

It’s a journey that we’ve all taken and a paranoia that we’ve all felt. The good news is that most of those symptoms are completely innocuous and most conditions are harmless; the bad news is that you’ll probably need a little more convincing than that.

That brings us to nosebleeds. More than 60% of the population will experience at least one nosebleed during their life and the majority will expect the worst as soon as the first drop falls. But are nosebleeds really anything to worry about and can this common symptom be a sign of cancer?

Can Nosebleeds be a Sign of Cancer?

Medical questions rarely have a straightforward answer and the same is true here:

Yes, nosebleeds can be a sign of cancer, but the likelihood is pretty slim.

Most nosebleeds can be explained away with simple external factors. If you have recently been picking your nose, using a nasal spray, or blowing your nose, that’s probably the cause of your nosebleeds.

And if you’re instantly rejecting those claims because you didn’t pick that much or you didn’t blow that hard, think again.

You don’t need to pick your nose aggressively to get a nosebleed. It just takes a single poke from a jagged fingernail to rupture the blood vessels and cause a nosebleed, and if you’re susceptible, they could rupture with a single blow.

Just because you’ve never had a nosebleed doesn’t mean there can’t be an innocent cause. Maybe you’ve just been very lucky. Maybe your habits or medications have changed over the years. In any case, most nosebleeds really do have completely innocent causes.

But, as noted above, there are exceptions.

When Nosebleeds Can Mean Cancer

Although a nosebleed can indicate cancer, it’s highly unlikely and it’s rarely the only symptom.

Brain tumors that form in the sinuses can cause nosebleeds, but these are incredibly rare. They can also be caused by tumors in the base of the skull, including meningioma, which is benign 90% of the time.

Just because it’s benign, doesn’t mean it won’t cause symptoms such as nosebleeds, which are caused by a build-up of pressure.

However, if such a tumor is present, you would likely experience a host of other symptoms, including vision problems, nausea/vomiting, severe headaches, balance problems, hearing difficulties, fatigue, memory loss, behavioral changes, and confusion.

Not only is it rare for nosebleed-causing malignant tumors to form, but it’s also rare for these to develop no additional symptoms.

To put your mind at rest, if the nosebleed is the only symptom, it’s probably not cancer, and even if there are other symptoms, it’s more likely to be caused by a host of other issues, most of which are completely innocuous.

If you do have other symptoms or the nosebleeds are excessive, you should consult with your doctor as soon as you can. It’s better to be safe than sorry and if a 10 minute doctor’s appointment is all it takes to put your mind at rest and stop you frantically searching for symptoms, it’s worth it!