Nasal Cavity Cancer
The nasal cavity is made of
two cavities which open
outwards at the nostrils to allow breathing. Cancer occurs
when a group of cells undergoes an uncontrolled growth, leading to the development of a malignant mass. Nasal
cavity Cancer is a rare but very aggressive malignant tumor, affecting about 2,000 people (including cancer
of paranasal sinuses) in the United States each year. Its symptoms are non-specific and diagnosis is based on
the examination of organ or tissue affected.
of any gender and age can be affected, cancer of the nasal cavity is more common among men and people aged
over 50; 80% of cases occurring in people who are at least 55 years old. It also shows that certain areas of the
world have a greater number of cases, Japan and South Africa, for instance.
Many risk factors are suspected in the development of cancer
in the nasal cavities. The main one is wood dust. In fact it is believed that almost 50%
of cancers of the sinuses and nasal cavities are diagnosed in people, due to their occupation, exposed to wood dust:
carpenters, cabinetmakers, and others. This
is mainly the case of individuals assigned to work in
sawing and sanding. The main known carcinogenic agent
suspected is tannin (vegetable tannin), a pale-yellow to light-brown
water-soluble polyphenol found in plants, bark, wood…
There are some other professional activities that can lead
to nasal cavity cancer, or predispose an individual to it. For instance, the disease is also diagnosed in people
working in leather, textile, hexavalent chromium (chemical compound), or
workers exposed to formaldehyde vapor.
Nasal cavity can
be detected due to manifestation of the signs or symptoms typical to it. The same, the disease can be
discovered when a person is being treated for sinus problem or infection, such as sinusitis.
Common Symptoms of nasal cavity cancer tend to include
At first, before the
tumor is aggressive:
repeated nose bleeds (epistaxis)
persistent purulent nasal
discharge (with or without blood)
nose which tends to be progressive and rapidly permanent
growths (nasal polyps)
on the lining of the nasal passages or sinuses
As the cancer progresses, pain can appears later, which can
then be accompanied by:
Halitosis, bad breath
Eye problems such as double vision,
Puffy face or eyelids which can be
associated with pain
painful inflammation and muscle spasms in the face
lymph nodes in the neck, which can indicate complications
Trismus, difficulty opening the
mouth, which is another sign of
Itching and sore throat due to a
lump in the mouth or throat, an indication of metastasis
Cavity Cancer Treatment
includes mostly chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgical therapy when it is possible. But before considering an appropriate treatment,
nasal cavity (rhinoscopy) is required to locate the tumor
and do a biopsy, removal of a piece of tissue or a sample of cells from
the nasal cavity to be analyzed in a laboratory.
is performed to examine
the nasal cavity; it can be anterior rhinoscopyor posterior rhinoscopy. The exam is often performed in conjunction with CT scan to better
assess nasopharyngeal area and increase the accuracy that all lesions are detected.
Once the cancer is confirmed, CT scan and
magnetic resonance imaging are used to specify
the size of the tumor and its invasion (stage) and also to see if the
bone walls are destroyed.
It is important for the health care provider or the oncologist to know the stage of the cancer in order to
establish an effective treatment plan.
usually treated with surgery
followed by radiation therapy, external
or implant, according to
the type and location of the
tumor. In some situations when there is sever damage, a muscle transplant can be
performed to close the surgical cavity. Removable denture may be necessary if there
is loss of bone in the palace. Chemotherapy is mostly used when the cancer has metastasized
distant organs. For instance, a
can spread to the lungs and the kidneys.