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Clinical Specialties - Cancer

Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancers

Head & Neck Cancer, Skin & Soft Tissue MDTParanasal and nasal cancers are abnormal growths that begin in and around the passageway within your nose (nasal cavity). Nasal tumours begin in the nasal cavity. Paranasal tumours begin in air-filled chambers around the nose called the paranasal sinuses.

The head and neck cancer experts at Sydney Adventist Hospital use several methods to confirm your diagnosis and determine the stage of your disease. They have experience with early-stage as well as complex cancer; have access to advanced diagnostic tools and a wide range of treatments, including clinical trials. At the same time, our supportive clinicians help you manage side effects to support your quality of life. Explore this section to learn more about paranasal and nasal cancers, their side effects and your treatment options.

About paranasal and nasal cancer

Nasal and sinus cancers are rare head and neck cancers that start inside the nose or paranasal sinuses. The exact causes of nasal and sinus cancers are not known. But it is more common in people who handle or breathe in certain chemicals, like chromium or nickel, or formaldehyde for many years. Other factors, like smoking, can also increase the risk of developing nasal and sinus cancers.

Paranasal and nasal tumours can be noncancerous (benign) or they can be cancerous (malignant). Several types of nasal and paranasal tumours exist. Which type of tumour you have helps determine the best treatment for you.

What are the symptoms of paranasal and nasal cancers?

The most common symptoms can include:

  • A blocked nose that does not clear
  • Pressure or pain behind your nose or in your upper teeth
  • Blood when you blow your nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Losing your sense of smell


Other symptoms include:

  • Numbness of your cheek, upper lip, upper teeth or side of your nose
  • Headaches
  • Jaw stiffness or pain
  • Loose teeth in your upper jaw
  • Speech changes
  • Double vision

It is important to remember that these symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. If you are concerned, consult with your general practitioner (GP).

How are nasal cancers diagnosed?

A thorough and accurate cancer diagnosis is the first step in developing a nasal cancer treatment plan. Your integrated team of head and neck cancer experts will use advanced diagnostic tests and tools to evaluate the disease, and plan your individualised treatment. Throughout your treatment, we'll use imaging and laboratory tests to track the size of the tumours, monitor your response to treatment, and modify your plan when needed.

Some of the diagnostic evaluations that may be used to determine a nasal cancer diagnosis include:

  • X-ray
  • Barium swallow
  • Panendoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Pharyngoscopy
  • Other imaging
What are my treatment options for nasal and paranasal cancers?

Treatment for nasal and paranasal tumours depends on where your tumour is located and what types of cells are involved. Your multidisciplinary team will work with you to devise a treatment plan that is best for your particular tumour.

Nasal and paranasal sinus cancers are generally treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these.

Resources and useful nasal and paranasal cancer links
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Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical Specialties and Services