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Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer: Overview of symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

  • Posted on- Oct 15, 2015
  • 307 Views

Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer are malignant tumours that start in the inside of the nose or paranasal cavities around the nose. The nasal cavity is the space just behind the nose where air passes on the way to the throat. The paranasal sinuses are air-filled areas that surround the nasal cavity on the cheeks, the maxillary sinuses above and between the eyes, the ethmoid and frontal sinuses and behind the ethmoids, the sphenoid sinuses. There are different types of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, malignant melanoma, inverting papilloma, esthesioneuroblastoma, midline granuloma, lymphoma and sarcoma.

Signs and symptoms of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

Patients suffering from nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs:


Tests and diagnosis of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

If your doctor suspects you of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer, he may order certain tests and procedures to diagnose the cancer including:
  • Physical examination: During your physical examination, the doctor will feel for any lumps on the neck, lips, gums, and cheeks. He will also inspect the nose, mouth, throat, and tongue for abnormalities.
  • Biopsy: Your doctor will remove a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. Only a biopsy can make a definite diagnosis.
  • Endoscopy: This procedure enables the doctor to see inside the body with a thin, lighted, flexible tube called an endoscope.
  • X-ray: An X-ray is a procedure which creates a picture of the structures inside of the body, using a small amount of radiation. It can show if the sinuses are filled with something other than air.
  • CT scan: A CT scan creates a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body with an x-ray machine. The test is done to measure the tumour’s size.
  • MRI: An MRI uses magnetic fields to produce detailed images of the body, especially images of soft tissue, such as the eye in its socket and the part of the brain near the sinuses. The test can also be used to measure the tumour’s size.
  • Bone Scan: This test may be done to see if cancer has spread to the bones. A bone scan uses a radioactive tracer to look at the inside of the bones.

Treatment options for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

Treatment for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer depends on the type of cancer, the grade and your general health. The following treatments may be used alone or in combination with one another:
  • Surgery: A surgery may be performed depending on the position of the cancer and whether or not it has spread into the surrounding area of lymph nodes. The operation can sometimes be extensive and in some cases skin grafts or flaps are needed.
  • Radiation Therapy: Radiotherapy treats cancer by using high-energy rays to destroy the cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal tissue.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer medications to destroy cancer cells. The procedure is occasionally used to treat nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer.

Post treatment, it is necessary to have regular check-ups with your doctor and possibly scans or X-rays.