Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a condition that predominantly affects the population of South China (2–3 cases/100 000). At the present time, the conventional treatment of NPC is with chemoradiotherapy. This has revolutionised the prognosis and 5-year survival rates are of the order of 50–70%, size dependent. Treatment of recurrence is however difficult. Surgery is an option but suited to small localised recurrence; re-irradiation can cause demyelination and chemotherapy has very small complete response rates. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is approved for the treatment of advanced or recurrent head and neck cancers.