Sinonasal cancers are rare cancers occurring in the nasal cavity or sinuses, and are more common in males. There are many types of sinonasal cancers, which can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are noncancerous forms of growth, which may develop due to a viral infection or increased inflammation in the nose, often as a result of chronic rhinosinusitis. The cause for malignant cancers is not very clear, but is sometimes associated with cigarette smoking.
Symptoms may include nasal obstruction, congestion and discharge, frequent headaches, bleeding from the nose, facial pain and swelling, change in vision, or neurologic problems. When you present to the clinic with these symptoms, your doctor performs a thorough physical examination and reviews your medical history. Other tests such as MRI or CT scans and biopsy may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis of sinonasal cancers.
Treatment of sinonasal cancers involves surgical therapy, radiation and chemotherapy. The type of surgery depends on the size and stage of cancer, and can be performed minimally invasively using a small nasal telescope called an endoscope inserted through your nostril or through an external incision. Reconstructive surgery may be performed in some cases, as sinonasal cancer surgery may cause facial disfigurement, and swallowing and speech difficulties.