Learn about these cancerous and noncancerous growths that form in and around the nose. Treatments include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Nasal and paranasal tumors are abnormal growths that begin in and around the passageway within your nose (nasal cavity). Nasal tumors begin in the nasal cavity. Paranasal tumors begin in air-filled chambers around the nose called the paranasal sinuses.
Nasal and paranasal tumors can be noncancerous (benign) or they can be cancerous (malignant). Several types of nasal and paranasal tumors exist. Which type of tumor you have helps determine the best treatment for you.
Signs and symptoms of nasal and paranasal tumors can include:
Talk to your doctor about any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.
Nasal and paranasal tumors form when a genetic mutation turns normal, healthy cells into abnormal cells. Healthy cells grow and multiply at a set rate, eventually dying at a set time. Abnormal cells grow and multiply out of control, and they don't die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor).
If the abnormal cells become cancerous, they might invade nearby tissues and separate from an initial tumor to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Factors that may increase the risk of nasal and paranasal tumors include:
To reduce your risk of nasal and paranasal tumors, you can:
Tests and procedures used to diagnose nasal and paranasal tumors include:
Your doctor may recommend additional tests and procedures based on your particular condition.
Treatment for nasal and paranasal tumors depends on where your tumor is located and what types of cells are involved. Your health care team will work with you to devise a treatment plan that is best for your particular tumor.
Most nasal and paranasal tumors are treated with surgery to remove the tumor. Surgical options may include:
Nasal and paranasal tumors are located near critical structures in your head, such as your brain, eyes and the nerves that control vision. Surgeons work to minimizes damage to these areas.
Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be used on its own or after surgery to treat nasal and paranasal tumors.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. In people with nasal and paranasal tumors, chemotherapy may be used before or after an operation. Chemotherapy may also be used in combination with radiation therapy.
Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained professionals. Palliative care teams aim to improve the quality of life for people with cancer and their families. This form of care is offered alongside curative or other treatments you may be receiving.
Finding out that you have a tumor or cancer can be overwhelming and frightening. You can help yourself to feel more in control by taking an active role in your health care. To help you cope, try to:
Find someone to talk with. Find a good listener with whom you can talk about your hopes and fears. This may be a friend or family member. The concern and understanding of a counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or cancer support group also may be helpful.
Ask your doctor about support groups in your area or contact cancer organizations, such as the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.
If your doctor believes that you may have a nasal or paranasal tumor, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in diseases that affect the ears, nose and throat (ENT specialist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot to talk about, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For nasal and paranasal tumors, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow time later to cover points you want to address. Your doctor may ask: