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.

Although people 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.

NasalCavity Cancer Causes 

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.

NasalCavity Cancer Symptoms 


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:

  • Mild repeated nose bleeds (epistaxis)
  • persistent purulent nasal discharge (with or without blood)
  • feeling stuffy nose which tends to be progressive and rapidly permanent
  • soft, painless 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, watery eyes
  • Puffy face or eyelids which can be associated with pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, painful inflammation and muscle spasms in the face
  • Swollen (enlarged) lymph nodes in the neck, which can indicate complications
  • Trismus, difficulty opening the mouth, which is another sign of complication
  • Itching and sore throat due to a lump in the mouth or throat, an indication of metastasis

NasalCavity Cancer Treatment 

Nasal  Cavity Cancer Treatment includes mostly chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgical therapy when it is possible.  But before considering an appropriate treatment, an examination of the 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. The rhinoscopy 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.

Nasal  Cavity Cancer  is  usually treated with surgery followed by radiation therapy, external orimplant, 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 into  distant organs. For instance, a  nasal cavity  cancer can spread to the lungs and the kidneys.

Leave a Reply