Nose & Sinus

Sinus Cancer

What is sinus cancer?

The paranasal sinuses are air filled cavities that are located on the bones of the face either side of the nose. They are lined with a mucous membrane that contains glands that keep it moist. Unfortunately like most parts of the body tumours can develop here. Tumours in the sinuses may be either benign or malignant (meaning they have the ability to spread elsewhere).

Sinus cancer is rare and there are lots of different types including squamous cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas, melanomas and esthesion euroblastomas.

Where Are My Sinuses? | My ENT Specialist
What Is Sinus Cancer? | My ENT Specialist

Who gets sinus cancer?

Sinus cancer is most often diagnosed in people over the age of 45, and it occurs more commonly in men.
Risk factors for nasal and sinus cancer include

What are the symptoms of sinus cancer?

Many of the symptoms of sinus cancer are much more commonly caused by benign conditions, however if you have been experiencing any of the following symptoms for more than a few weeks, it would be wise to consult your doctor:

How is sinus cancer diagnosed?

If you consult your doctor with symptoms suspicious of sinus cancer, he/she will first discuss your medical history with you and perform a physical examination. Diagnostic tests and/or specialist referral may then be arranged, as required:
Sinus Cancer | My ENT Specialist

How is sinus cancer treated?

Treatment for sinus cancer depends on individual patient factors. Sinus cancers are generally treated either with surgery or radiation therapy, or sometimes with a combination of both. In some instances, radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy.

During surgery, the specialist removes the cancer, along with a margin of healthy tissue. For small and less aggressive sinus cancers endoscopic surgery can be done via the nostril. In other cases where the cancer is bigger or more aggressive more extensive surgery is required. This may involve removing part of the bone of the upper jaw (Maxillectomy). In these more extensive operations, some form of reconstruction will be required to rebuild the jaw.

This usually involves bringing bone and skin from elsewhere in your body and using micro surgical techniques to reconnect its blood supply (Microvascular Free Flap surgery).  If the cancer has spread, surgery will also include the removal of the draining lymph nodes in the neck, called a neck dissection.

What is the likely prognosis of sinus cancer?

The prognosis of sinus cancer depends on the size of the original tumour, how far the cancer has spread, and how aggressive the cancer cells are. In addition, the age and general health of the patient play an important role in selecting the most appropriate treatment.

Overall, 58% of patients with sinus cancer are still living 5 years after diagnosis. For a cancer that has not spread beyond the nasal cavity or sinuses the 5-year survival rate is 84%.