Sinus Cancer: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

November 12, 2012

Sinus Cancer: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Sinus cancer is also called nasal cancer, cancer of the nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer. No matter what you call it, it is still cancer of the nose. It needs immediate treatment because it gets worse over time. This is hard cancer to treat. Fortunately, it is also one of the rarest cancers that people can get.

Sinus cancer is located inside of the nose and back where the nose connects to the throat. It affects four main areas:

  • Around the forehead, called the frontal sinuses

  • On either side of the nose on top of the cheekbones, called the maxillary sinuses

  • On either side of the top of the nose, called the ethmoidal sinuses

  • Behind the ethmoidal sinuses, called the sphenoidal sinuses.

Causes

It is unknown exactly what causes sinus cancer. Men are more likely to develop it than women. Just why is unknown. People over 45 years old are also more prone to get it. Again, it is not known why, but senior citizens are about 10 times more likely to develop any type of cancer than younger people, let alone nasal cancer.

It is known that people who smoke tobacco are placing themselves at risk for developing sinus cancer or most any other types of cancer. Research also suggests that long-term exposure to certain carcinogenic materials like mercury, leather dust, radium, nickel, chromium, formaldehyde or asbestos may also increase a person’s chance for developing this rare cancer.

Common and Uncommon Symptoms

It is unknown what the earliest symptoms of nasal cancer are. By the time patients experience symptoms of nasal cancer, the cancer is often advanced. This means that anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their doctors as soon as possible for any chance of survival.

The known symptoms of sinus cancer are:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Sudden tooth loss

  • Facial pain or numbness

  • Increase in headaches

  • Increase in sinus infections

  • Nose always feels stuffed up

  • Nose drips mucus more than usual

  • Head feels heavier than normal

  • More nosebleeds than usual

  • Vision problems, including swollen eyelids and double vision

  • Pain around or behind the eyes

  • Pain in one or both ears

  • Appearance of a lump on the face or on the mouth’s roof.

Treatment And Prognosis

Treatment depends largely in part of where the cancer is located and how healthy the patient is. Cancers are classified in stages zero to four, with the worse being Stage Four. This stage is often inoperable. If surgery is an option, the surgery is often combined with radiation and chemotherapy to shrink tumors and keep cancer cells from spreading. Cancer cells spread through blood vessels, lymphatic fluids or through bodily tissues. Cancerous tumors behind the eyes or up into the brain may be most difficult to remove without leaving a patient blind.

Sadly, the prognosis for anyone diagnosed with sinus cancer is poor. About 75% of patients die within five years of their diagnosis.

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