Overview

About Nasal Cavity Cancer

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About Nasal Cavity Cancer

Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the tissues of the nose.

Signs & Symptoms

These are signs of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer:

  • A lump or sore inside the nose that does not heal
  • A lump on the face or roof of the mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the face
  • Swelling or other trouble with the eyes, such as double vision or the eyes pointing in different directions
  • Blocked sinuses that do not clear, or sinus pressure
  • Headaches or pain in the sinus areas
  • Pain in the upper teeth, loose teeth, or dentures that no longer fit well
  • Pain or pressure in the ear
  • A persistent runny nose or nosebleeds

Many other health problems can also cause these signs. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Learn more about paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

Image of the Paranasal Sinuses

anatomy of the paranasal sinuses

Anatomy of the paranasal sinuses (spaces between the bones around the nose).

Specialties & Treatments

The treatment or combination of treatments each patient has depends on the stage of the cancer, recommendations of the care team, and the patient’s wishes. These are the most common types of treatment for paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer: 

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Head and Neck Cancers Program provides comprehensive, compassionate, state-of-the-art care for people with these cancers. Our experts treat and diagnose all types of head and neck cancers and conditions.

Learn more about types of cancer treatments and paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer surgery choices from the National Cancer Institute.

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Causes & Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean you are sure to get cancer. It means your chances are higher than the average person’s. Talk with your doctor to learn more about your cancer risk.

These are risk factors for getting paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer:

Learn more about ways to prevent cancer and about cancer screenings.

Diagnosis & Stages

Diagnosis of Sinus & Nasal Cavity Cancer

These tests are used to diagnose paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer:

  • Tissue sampling: The health care provider removes cells or tissues with a small scope so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer.
  • Physical exam and history: A health care provider examines your body for signs of disease. Your personal health habits, past illnesses, and symptoms help guide the exam.
  • Imaging tests: Using dyes, x-rays, magnets, radio waves, and/or computer technology, your health care provider can create detailed images of internal organs. Your health care provider may inject or have you swallow a dye to help see the images.
  • Biopsy: The health care provider removes cell or tissue samples so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer.

Stages of Sinus & Nasal Cavity Cancer

Staging is the process that shows whether cancer has spread within or around the paranasal sinus and nasal cavity or to other parts of the body. Cancer spreads in the body in three ways: through tissue, the lymph system, or the blood.

These are the stages used for paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer:

  • Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ): Abnormal cells are in the innermost lining of the maxillary sinus, nasal cavity, or ethmoid sinus.
  • Stage I: Cancer has formed in only one area of the mucous membranes of the maxillary sinus, nasal cavity, or ethmoid sinus.
  • Stage II: Cancer has spread to bone around the maxillary sinus (roof of the mouth and the nose) but not to the back of the maxillary sinus or the base of the skull, or the cancer is in two areas of the nasal cavity or ethmoid sinus.
  • Stage III: Cancer has spread to any of these areas: base of skull, eye socket, tissues under the skin, or ethmoid sinuses; or the cancer has spread to one lymph node smaller than 3 centimeters.
  • Stage IV (IVA, IVB, and IVC): Cancer has spread to other parts of the body or more than one lymph node.

When cancer spreads from where it started to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. These metastatic cancer cells are the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if paranasal sinus or nasal cavity cancer spreads to the bone, the cancer cells in the bone are actually paranasal sinus or nasal cavity cancer cells. The disease is metastatic paranasal sinus or nasal cavity cancer, not bone cancer.

Learn more about the stages of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer from the National Cancer Institute.