What is nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer?
Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer starts in the cells in the nose or a sinus around the nose. A cancerous (malignant) tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into nearby tissue and destroy it. The tumour can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
The nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses are part of the respiratory system. The nasal cavity is made up of the nostrils and the hollow passageway just behind the nose. The nasal cavity filters, warms and moistens the air you breathe and gives you a sense of smell. The paranasal sinuses are hollow chambers around the nose, filled with air. These sinuses give your voice its unique sound and protect the brain from injury.
Cells in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. These changes may lead to non-cancerous (benign) tumours such as nasal polyps or inverting papilloma.
Find out more about non-cancerous tumours of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses.
But in some cases, changes to nasal cavity or paranasal cavity cells can cause cancer. Most often, nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer starts in flat, thin cells called squamous cells. These cells line the inside of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. This type of cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Sometimes cancer can start in the gland cells of the nose or sinuses. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma of the nasal cavity or paranasal sinus.
Rare types of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer can also develop. These include esthesioneuroblastoma and sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (SNUC).
Find out more about treatments for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer.