Staging nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

Last medical review:

Staging is a way of describing or classifying a cancer based on the extent of cancer in the body. Extent includes where the cancer first started to grow, if the cancer has grown into nearby tissues or if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan treatment and estimate your prognosis.

Tumours in the maxillary sinus are staged separately from tumours in the nasal cavity and ethmoid sinus. Doctors use the TNM system to stage tumours in these structures. This system describes where the cancer first started to grow, the size of the tumour and if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.

Doctors often use the Kadish staging system for esthesioneuroblastoma. The Kadish system uses the letters A, B, C and D to describe where the tumour has grown.

Tumours in the nasal vestibule are staged using the TNM system for non-melanoma skin cancer. Find out more about stages of non-melanoma skin cancer.

There is no staging system for tumours in the frontal and sphenoid sinuses because they are very rare.

Expert review and references

  • Bayardo Perez-Ordonez, MD, FRCPC
  • American Cancer Society . Nasal and Paranasal Sinus Cancers . Atlanta, GA : 2014 :
  • American Joint Committee on Cancer. AJCC Cancer Staging Handbook. 7th ed. Chicago: Springer; 2010.
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology . Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer . 2014 :
  • Brierley JD, Gospodarowicz MK, Wittekind C (eds.). TNM Classification of Malignant Tumours. 8th ed. Wiley Blackwell; 2017.
  • Cancer Research UK. Stage and Grade of Maxillary Sinus Cancer. Cancer Research UK; 2014:
  • Klem C. Malignant Tumors of the Sinuses. WebMD LLC; 2013:
  • 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.

Stages of maxillary sinus cancer

Maxillary sinus cancer staging is based on the TNM system. Learn about the stages of maxillary sinus cancer.

Stages of nasal cavity and ethmoid sinus cancer

Nasal cavity and ethmoid sinus cancer staging is based on the TNM system. Learn about the stages of nasal cavity and ethmoid sinus cancer.

Staging esthesioneuroblastoma

Esthesioneuroblastoma staging is based on the Kadish staging system. Learn about the stages of esthesioneuroblastoma.

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