Epistaxis (Nosebleed)

Author: OncoLink Team
Last Reviewed: August 01, 2022

What is epistaxis?

Epistaxis is the medical term used to describe a nosebleed. Epistaxis is most often caused by trauma. In cancer patients, epistaxis may be caused by:

  • A low platelet count.
  • Weakened or damaged tissue/blood vessels due to radiation or a tumor.

How is epistaxis managed?

If you are at risk of getting nosebleeds, blow your nose gently and avoid putting anything (tissues, fingers, etc.) into your nose.
Here are some tips to follow if you get a nosebleed:

  • Stay upright and lean slightly forward. Do not lie down or tilt your head back.
  • Apply firm pressure by pinching the bridge of your nose just below the bony ridge for at least five minutes.
  • If the bleeding continues after five minutes, repeat the first two steps. It may help to apply ice to the bridge of your nose.
  • After the bleeding has stopped, do not blow your nose as this may cause your nosebleed to start again.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier to keep the nasal mucosa moist and reduce the risk of nosebleeds.

When should I contact my care team?

If a nosebleed does not stop after 15-30 minutes, call your provider. If you are having frequent nosebleeds, speak to your care provider.

Breastcancer.org. Nosebleeds. Found at: https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/side_effects/nosebleeds

MedLine Plus. Bleeding During Cancer Treatment. Found at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000022.htm

Suh J. American Rhinologic Society [Internet]. Epistaxis (Nosebleeds). [cited 2014 Dec 03]. Available at: http://care.american-rhinologic.org/epistaxis