Nasal Cavity/Sinus Cancer
Cancer of the Nasal Cavity or Sinus is also referred to as nasal cancer. This cancer can occur either in the nasal cavity that lies behind the nose and extends towards the back of the throat, or in any of the air filled spaces that form the nasal sinuses. The names for the sinuses are maxillary, ethmoid, frontal and sphenoid and pinpoint where in the head the sinuses are located.
People typically first notice a problem because of blocked sinuses, sinus pressure, frequent headaches or pain in the sinus region. There are also a number of other symptoms associated with this type of cancer that we have listed in this section. Remember that the symptoms you experience might also be caused by other medical conditions so it is important for you to consult a physician to confirm a diagnosis.
It’s normal for you to wonder how you got cancer of the nasal cavity or sinus. Although we still don’t have all the answers, we do know that there are risk factors associated with people developing this cancer, especially age and sex, tobacco and alcohol use, and various environmental exposures. Remember that there is no single cause for developing this type of cancer.
Screening and Diagnosis
You may need to undergo a number of tests for the screening and diagnosis, which will help your team to assess the stage, or severity of the cancer. Your head and neck specialist will first perform a physical examination to look for signs and symptoms of cancer, and then may order one or more of the most commonly used tests such endoscopy, panendoscopy, and x-rays.
Learn about some of the other tests commonly used for head and neck cancers
For small nasal cancers that have not spread to the neck lymph nodes, the treatment approach most favoured is surgery. In such cases, surgery is minor and effectively removes small tumors without the need for facial incisions or causing significant problems with chewing, swallowing, speaking.
Radiation and Chemotherapy
When nasal tumors are large or when multiple lymph nodes are also involved, radiation and/or chemotherapy are given after surgery to ensure the complete removal of the tumor and to prevent its further spread. Chemotherapy and/or radiation may also be the sole treatment for the most advanced cases of nasal cancer when surgery would be too debilitating.
Follow-up care for nasal cancer is critical and you will need to see your physician on a regular basis. You may also need ongoing therapy for speaking and swallowing problems.
Many members of the multidisciplinary treatment team will work with you through this challenging process, and can offer continuing care and guidance about the services and resources that may be of assistance during your recovery or palliative care.