What is sinus cancer?

Cancers occurring in the nasal cavity and the sinuses that branch off of it are rare. Most sinus cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that originate in the lining of the sinuses or nasal cavity. Less common types of sinus and nasal cavity cancers include melanomas (the most dangerous type of skin cancer) and sarcomas (cancer affecting connective tissue). Only about 2,000 people develop any type of nasal or sinus cancer each year in the United States (Source: Cancer.Net).

Many of the symptoms of sinus cancer resemble those of inflammation or infection of the sinuses (sinusitis), such as congestion, postnasal drip, runny nose, pain under the eyes or above the eyebrows, and earache or toothache. Nosebleeds and eye symptoms can also occur. Unlike the symptoms of inflammation and infection, the symptoms of sinus cancer do not improve.

Treatment of sinus cancer depends upon the type of cancer present, where it is located, its size, whether it has spread, and your overall health status. Surgery is often part of treatment, and may be preceded or followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Complications of sinus cancer requiring emergency care are rare. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for a nosebleed that will not stop or extremely severe headache. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of sinusitis that persist for more than a couple weeks; get frequent bloody noses; develop double vision, facial weakness, or a change in facial appearance; or have other symptoms that concern you.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of sinus cancer?

Symptoms of sinus cancer can resemble those of sinusitis, but they do not resolve with standard therapies. They can also involve changes in facial appearance, which may be due to facial muscle weakness. A lump in the mouth, nose, or throat may be noted. Vague symptoms such as fatigue and weight loss can also occur.... Read more about sinus cancersymptoms

CAUSES

What causes sinus cancer?

It is not known what causes cancer to develop in the sinuses, although some factors have been identified that increase the risk of it occurring.... Read more about sinus cancercauses

TREATMENTS

How is sinus cancer treated?

A number of different treatments for sinus cancer may be used, depending upon the exact type of cancer that is present and the extent to which the cancer has spread.... Read more about sinus cancertreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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