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Doctor checking woman's nasal cavity

Cancer can sometimes develop in the nasal cavity, which is the small passageway that runs along the roof of the mouth, or in the paranasal sinuses, which are the hollow cavities that surround the nose. Because this is a complex and relatively uncommon type of cancer, it is especially important to receive treatment from an oncologist who predominantly treats conditions of the head and neck.

What are nasal cavity cancer and sinus cavity cancer?

There are several types of cells that make up the mucus-producing tissues in the nasal cavity and the paranasal sinuses (mucosa). Nasal cancer and sinus cancer can develop in those respective cavities. These cells can undergo certain genetic changes that cause them to multiply at an abnormally rapid rate. Eventually, they can form tumors and start to invade the surrounding tissues.

Nasal cancer and sinus cancer symptoms

Nasal cavity cancer and cancer of the sinus cavity commonly cause the following symptoms:

  • Persistent nasal congestion
  • A blockage on one side of the nose
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Nosebleeds
  • Drainage of pus from the nose
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Headache
  • Facial pain and numbness (often above or below the eyes)
  • Watering eyes
  • Bulging of one eye
  • Vision changes or loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Numbness and loosening of the teeth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • A lump or mass located on the face, inside the nose or on the roof of the mouth (palate)
  • Enlarged lymph nodes within the neck

Are frequent sinus infections a sign of paranasal sinus cancer?

Many of the sinus cancer symptoms listed above resemble those of a sinus infection, likely prompting the question of whether frequent sinus infections could indicate sinus cavity cancer. Although there’s probably a much less serious explanation for the recurring infections, it’s always a good idea to confirm that with a trained medical provider, especially one with experience treating cancer of sinus and nasal cavities.

Nasal cavity cancer and sinus cavity cancer treatment options

Cancer—nasal or paranasal—requires prompt and individualized treatment. Because nasal tumors develop in close proximity to nearby nerves, organs and tissues, it’s important for oncologists to take into account not only the potential outcome of a therapy, but also the impact it can have on a patient’s quality of life.

Treating nasal cavity cancer and sinus cancer at Moffitt

At Moffitt Cancer Center, patients with these tumors are welcome to consult with the specialists in our Head and Neck Cancer Program, which is home to a number of nationally recognized endocrinologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and supportive care providers. Our team takes an individualized approach to treatment, recommending a unique combination of options for every patient. And, we offer a full spectrum of treatments, including:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Endoscopic surgery
  • Radiation therapy

Additionally, we are continually offering the latest advances through our clinical trials, which have earned us recognition as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

To learn more about Moffitt’s approach to nasal cavity cancer treatment and paranasal sinus cancer treatment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. At Moffitt, your cancer diagnosis is our top priority, which is why we've made it our goal to connect each new patient to a cancer expert as soon as possible. We understand how overwhelmed new patients often feel, and we hope that this rapid response time will help calm their anxieties.