Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancers

City of Hope offers a truly comprehensive approach to paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancers. Our accomplished head and neck surgeons specialize in the complex operations often necessary to eradicate these tumors while preserving vital structures and function. We offer ultra-sophisticated radiotherapy techniques, such as intensely-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and Helical TomoTherapy. We also employ the latest chemotherapy protocols and devise promising therapies through our drug development research programs. These combined attributes allow us to provide powerful therapeutic options to patients fighting paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancers.

Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer patients at City of Hope receive treatment from a coordinated, multidisciplinary team of head and neck surgeons, plastic surgeons, oncologists, neurologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, nutritionists, speech pathologists and other supportive care specialists, ensuring the highest possible standard of care.
About Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancers

Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancers result from an accumulation of malignant cells in the paranasal sinuses - hollow, air-filled spaces in the bones near the nose – and/or the nasal cavity (the tissue comprising the nasal passages leading from the nostrils to the back of the nose into the throat). The paranasal sinuses are divided into four types, which are named after the bones that surround them:

  • Frontal sinuses - in the lower forehead above the nose
  • Maxillary sinuses - in the cheekbones on either side of the nose
  • Ethmoid sinuses - beside the upper nose, between the eyes
  • Sphenoid sinuses - behind the nose, in the center of the skull

Most cancers of the paranasal sinuses are found in the maxillary sinuses. Like other head and neck cancers, these cancers may originate from a variety of different types of cells. The cellular classification of the cancer is important in determining prognosis and treatment options.
Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancer Risk Factors 
  • Age over 40
  • Male
  • Smoking
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Nasal polyps (particularly in cases of inverted papilloma)
  • HPV (human papillomavirus) infection (inverted papilloma)
  • EBV infection (in cases of T cell lymphoma)
  • Asian or South American ancestry (T cell lymphoma)
  • Certain autoimmune diseases (B cell lymphoma)
  • Neurofibromatosis (in sarcomas)
  • Occupational exposure to certain chemicals or dust – such jobs include:
    • Furniture manufacturing
    • Sawmill work
    • Woodworking (carpentry)
    • Shoemaking
    • Leather tanning
    • Metal plating
    • Flour mill or bakery work
    • Welding/soldering

  • Suspect substances include
    • Nickel compounds
    • Chromium compounds
    • Lacquers
    • Mineral oils
    • Wood dust
Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancer Symptoms
Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer often have no symptoms until the tumor encroaches on other structures in the head and neck. When present, symptoms may include the following:
  • Blocked sinuses that do not clear, or sinus pressure
  • Headaches or pain in the sinus areas
  • Runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Lump or sore inside the nose that does not heal
  • Lump on the face or roof of the mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the face
  • Swelling or other trouble with the eyes such as double vision or the eyes pointing in different directions
  • Pain in the upper teeth, loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit well
  • Pain or pressure in the ear