Doctor's Responses Archive

Viewer Question:
What was wrong with W.C. Fields' nose?

Doctor's Response:
The American entertainer of vaudeville and the movies, W.C. Fields (1880-1946), had rosacea with rhinophyma (ryno-fee-ma).

If it is not effectively treated, rosacea can cause rhinophyma (literally, growth of the nose). With rhinophyma, the nose is bulbous, enlarged and red and there may also be thick bumps on the lower half of the nose and nearby on the cheeks. Rhinophyma occurs mainly in men.

W.C. Fields' lifestyle -- he had a well-earned reputation for imbibing -- did not cause his rosacea but it probably didn't help much. Avoiding food and drink (such as alcoholic beverages) that cause flushing of the face is recommended in rosacea to help minimize the enlargement of blood vessels in the skin that is part of the condition.


Last Editorial Review: 4/1/2002