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Where Does Sinus Cancer Spread To

What Is Sinus Cancer

What Causes & Symptoms Nose 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 and sarcomas . Only about 2,000 people develop any type of nasal or sinus cancer each year in the United States .

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

Treatment of sinus 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 or chemotherapy.

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

Types Of Nasal Cavity And Paranasal Sinus Cancers

Cancer can start from any type of cell that makes up the mucosa, and each type of cancer acts and grows differently.

Each of these types of cancer has a distinct behavior and outlook. They cannot all be treated the same way. Many of them rarely affect the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, so they’ve been hard to study. Because of this, doctors must base treatment decisions on their experience with similar cancers in other parts of the head and neck.

Different Types Of Nasal Cavity And Paranasal Sinus Cancer

The nasal cavity and the paranasal sinuses are lined by a layer of mucus-producing tissue . The mucosa has many different types of cells that include squamous cells, glandular cells, nerve cells, and infection-fighting cells. Cancer can start from any of these cells.

  • The most common type of nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma .
  • Other less common types are adenocarcinoma
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma
  • Lymphoma

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Common Treatments For Sinus Cancer

Options for treating sinus cancer include:

  • to attack cancer cells

  • Participation in a clinical trial that is testing promising new therapies and treatments for sinus cancer

  • Radiation therapy to attack cancer cells

  • Surgery to reconstruct areas that needed to be removed to treat the cancer

  • Surgery to remove the cancer and evaluate how far it has spread

What Are Nasal Cavity And Paranasal Sinus Cancers

File:Diagram showing ethmoid sinus cancer that has spread ...

Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers start in the head and neck area. Cancer that starts in the nasal cavity is called nasal cavity cancer. Cancer that starts in the paranasal sinuses is called paranasal sinus cancer. These cancers start when cells in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus grow out of control and crowd out normal cells.

Cancer can start any place in the body. Cancer that starts in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinus area can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones, and grow there. When cancer cells do this, its called metastasis and the cancer cells in the new place look just like the ones from where it started. When nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer spreads, its still called nasal cavity or parasinus sinus cancer. Its not called lung cancer unless it starts from cells in the lung.

The information after the pictures below is about nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers.

Ask your doctor to use these pictures to show you where the cancer is.

The nasal cavity

Explore the 3D interactive color model to learn more.

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Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options

The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:

  • Where the tumor is in the paranasal sinus or nasal cavity and whether it has spread.
  • The size of the tumor.
  • The type of cancer.
  • The patient’s age and general health.
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred .

Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancers often have spread by the time they are diagnosed and are hard to cure. After treatment, a lifetime of frequent and careful follow-up is important because there is an increased risk of developing a second kind of cancer in the head or neck.

What You Should Know About Sinus Cancer And Nose Cancer

Cancers of the nose and sinuses account for less than 1% of all tumors, but the nose and sinus give rise to a greater variety of tumors than any other site in the body. In fact, there are hundreds of types of tumors that can arise in the nose and sinuses. The most common are:

  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • adenocarcinoma
  • esthesioneuroblastoma and sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma

Other nose and sinus cancers include neuroendocrine carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, melanoma and all types of sarcomas.

To learn more about nose cancer and sinus cancer, we spoke with Shirley Su, M.D., assistant professor in Head and Neck Surgery. Here’s what she had to say.

What are common symptoms or nose cancer and sinus cancer?New onset of blocked nose, frequent nose bleeds, loss of sense of smell, change in vision or double vision, swelling of the face or eye, headaches and numbness of the face.

These tumors also may not present symptoms and may be found during sinus surgery or on CT scans for an unrelated complaint.

How are these cancers typically diagnosed?Diagnosis requires a biopsy and having the specimen examined by a pathologist. Having an experienced pathologist look at the biopsy is critical. There are so many different types of tumors in this region, and treatment can be completely different for two tumors that look very similar under the microscope.

Why are nose and sinus cancers typically hard to treat?Coming to the correct diagnosis is the first hurdle.

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About Sinus And Nasal Cancers And Types

  • Diagnosis, Risks and Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancers
  • Sinus cancer, nasal cancer and skull-base cancer usually originate in the maxillary sinus, the nasal cavity, and the ethmoid sinus, in that order. Cancers that originate at the top of your maxillary sinus, located between the eyes and the upper jaw, can invade your eyes and affect your vision. Those that invade through the back wall can access the nerves and vessels at the base of your skull and move directly into your brain. Those tumors represent extremely advanced disease.

    Tumors arising in the ethmoid sinus, between the eye sockets and the nose, and the nasal cavity can also spread to an eye or the optic nerve. They can also invade the thin bone at the base of your skull and spread within your brain.

    What Is Nasal Cancer

    Nasal Tumors- What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Cancer

    The nose and sinuses that surround the nasal cavity may in rare circumstances develop cancer. The nasal cavity is defined by the area within the nose, excluding the skin whereas the sinuses are collectively known as the paranasal sinuses and include: the maxillary sinuses, ethmoid sinuses, sphenoid sinuses, and the frontal sinuses. The sinuses are air filled pockets of bone that sometimes can harbor both malignant and benign tumors. Most often, growths within the nasal and paranasal sinuses are benign. However, the most common malignant tumor is squamous cell carcinoma, usually occurring in the maxillary sinus.

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    Types Of Nasal Cavity And Sinus Cancers

    The type of nasal cavity or sinus tumor you have is determined by how cells taken from the tumor look under a microscope. These cells are collected during a biopsy.

    The most common type of nasal cavity or sinus cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cells are the thin, flat cells that make up the lining of the nasal and sinus passages.

    Other examples of cancerous tumor types include salivary gland cancer, sarcoma, esthesioneuroblastoma, lymphoma, sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma, and melanoma.

    Examples of noncancerous nasal cavity and sinus tumors include squamous papilloma, inverted papilloma, and adenoma.

    Determining the type of nasal cavity or sinus cancer helps doctors predict how the disease will respond to specific treatments. This way we can personalize your treatment.

    Treatment Of Stage Iv Paranasal Sinus And Nasal Cavity Cancer

    For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.

    • External radiation therapy and/or internal radiation therapy with or without surgery.
    • A clinical trial of chemotherapy before surgery or radiation therapy.
    • A clinical trial of chemotherapy after surgery or other cancer treatment.
    • A clinical trial of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

    Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

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    Tests That Examine The Sinuses And Nasal Cavity Are Used To Diagnose Paranasal Sinus And Nasal Cavity Cancer

    The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Nasoscopy: A procedure to look inside the nose for abnormal areas. A nasoscope is inserted into the nose. A nasoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. A special tool on the nasoscope may be used to remove samples of tissue. The tissues samples are viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer.
  • Laryngoscopy: A procedure in which the doctor checks the larynx with a mirror or a laryngoscope to check for abnormal areas.A laryngoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing the inside of the throat and voice box. It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.
  • Diagnosis Of Nasal Cavity And Sinus Cancers


    A biopsy is the first step in the diagnosis of nasal cavity or sinus cancer. During a biopsy, a small amount of the tumor is removed. A pathologist then examines the sample to determine what type of tumor you have.

    Special X-rays, such as CT scans, MRIs, or PET/CT scans, may provide more details about how deep the cancer is and if it has spread.

    The information from your biopsy and imaging scans allows your doctor to tell you the stage of the cancer. The stage measures how widespread or advanced the cancer is. It guides the recommendations for your treatment.

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    How Is Nasal Cancer Diagnosed

    In addition to routine history and physical examination, the physician may perform ancillary tests and procedures in order to confirm the presence and type of sinonasal cancer, as well as to determine the presence of second primary cancers or the spread of malignant disease elsewhere.

  • Blood Work. The physician may elect to perform routine blood analysis to assist in determining the presence of sinonasal cancer or other diseases. Blood work may not be necessary, and the decision to obtain blood work is individualized to every patient.
  • Liver Function Tests : Can be utilized to determine the presence of concurrent liver disease that may be associated with risk factors for the development of sinonasal cancer . Furthermore, abnormal values may indicate the presence of metastatic liver disease.
  • Complete Blood Count : This will identify the presence of any anemia that can sometimes be associated with poor nutrition, or chronic illness.
  • Nutritional Blood Work: If a patient seems nutritionally depleted, particularly in advanced cases, the clinician may elect to obtain laboratory work up to measure nutrition markers in the blood work. This may assist in determining if a patient requires supplemental nutrition.
  • Chest X-rays: Chest radiography may be obtained in order to define the presence of disease in the lungs. Often times patients with sinonasal cancer, have a longstanding history of smoking may have associated lesions in their lungs that should be identified.
  • Treatment For Metastatic Throat Cancer

    As with other cancers, the sooner throat cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat and the better the chances are of the treatment being successful. When throat cancer has metastasized to distant structures like the lungs or bones, it is considered advanced or late-stage cancer, and treatment will likely involve multiple approaches.

    Moffitt Cancer Center is dedicated to providing patients with any stage of throat cancer with the best possible treatment and care. The specialists within our Head and Neck Cancer Program take an individualized approach to treatment, giving our patients the best chance of a positive outcome and an improved quality of life. If you would like to learn more about receiving metastatic throat cancer treatment at Moffitt, fill out a new patient registration form online or call .

    • BROWSE

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    Diagnosis Of Sinus Cancer

    First, youll meet with your doctor for a physical exam. If your doctor finds possible signs of sinus cancer, they will order more tests, including:

    • Imaging tests: Scans including CT, MRI, PET scans and X-rays help confirm if a tumor exists and if its spread to other areas.
    • Sinus endoscopy: A thin, lighted tube is inserted into the nose. This allows your doctor to look for possible abnormal tissue inside your sinuses.
    • Biopsy: The removal of a small piece of tissue thats suspected of being cancerous.

    How Common Are Sinus Tumors

    Maxillary sinus cancer

    Cancers of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses are rare, with about 2,000 people in the United States developing these cancers each year. These tumors are more common with age, with about 4 out of 5 cases occurring in people who are at least 55 years old. Men are more likely than women to get these cancers.

    What does a CT scan of sinuses reveal?

    Sinus CT scanning is used for the following purposes: to assess fluid-filled or thick-membraned sinuses. to help confirm a sinusitis diagnosis. to assess disorders that cause inflammation. to learn about growths in the nasal cavity and sinuses .

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    Outlook For Nasal And Sinus Cancer

    There are many different types of cancer that can affect the nasal cavity and sinuses.

    The outlook varies, depending on the specific type of nasal and sinus cancer you have, its exact location, how far it’s spread before being diagnosed and treated, and your overall level of health and fitness.

    The Cancer Research UK website has more information about the outlook for nasal and sinus cancer.

    Staging And Grading Of Nasal Cavity And Paranasal Sinus Cancers

    Cancer can develop in the nasal cavity or any of the several pairs of sinuses. The cancer may then spread to nearby tissue, the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

    The staging of nasal and paranasal sinus cancers is complex. The staging systems are only for maxillary sinus, ethmoid sinus and nasal cavity cancer.

    For a cancer anywhere else in the sinuses your doctor will decide on your treatment differently. They will look at the size, location and type of the tumour you have.

    • V Paleri and N Roland

      The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, volume 130, number S2, May 2016

    • Cancer and its management J Tobias and D HochhauserWiley-Blackwell, 2015

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    Expert Review And References

    • Carrau RL. Malignant Tumors of the Nasal Cavity. WebMD LLC 2011: .
    • Cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus: radiation therapy and chemotherapy management. Harrison LB, Sessions RB, & Kies MS. Head and Neck Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2014: 21: 560-587.
    • Mendenhall WM, Werning JW, Pfister DG. Cancer of the head and neck. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, & Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2015: 38: 422-473.
    • Runbin P, Hansen JT. TNM Staging Atlas with Oncoanatomy. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2012: .
    • Tabaee A, Persky MS. Cancer of the nasal vestibule, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, anterior skull base, and orbit: Surgical management. Harrison LB, Sessions RB, & Kies MS. Head and Neck Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2014: 20:525-559.

    After Paranasal Sinus And Nasal Cavity Cancer Has Been Diagnosed Tests Are Done To Find Out If Cancer Cells Have Spread Within The Paranasal Sinuses And Nasal Cavity Or To Other Parts Of The Body

    Nasal and sinus cancer

    The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

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    Further Tests For Nasal And Sinus Cancer

    These tests may be used to help diagnose nasal and sinus cancer or to check whether it has spread.

    • X-rays

      X-rays are used to take pictures of the inside of your body. It is not painful and only takes a few minutes.

    • CT scan

      A CT scan uses x-rays to build a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body.

    • MRI scan

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