What are Nasal Cancer?

Nasal cancer is the malignant growth of cells in the nasal cavity or the sinuses. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Nasal cancer refers to the development of malignant (cancerous) cells in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses. The nasal cavity is a hollow area inside the nose, and the paranasal sinuses are air-filled cavities that surround it. These structures are responsible for filtering, warming, and humidifying the air we breathe.

Nasal cancer is relatively rare compared to other types of cancer, but it can be a serious condition. The cancerous cells can grow and invade nearby tissues, causing various symptoms and potentially spreading to other body parts (metastasis). The type of cancer most commonly found in these areas is called squamous cell carcinoma, but other types, such as adenocarcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, and melanoma, can also occur.


Nasal cancer symptoms differ depending on the stage of the malignancy and its location within the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses. Here are some common symptoms associated with nasal cancer:

These symptoms may resemble those of less serious illnesses such as cold or sinusitis. Symptoms at a later stage may include:

When To See A Doctor?

If you have persistent nasal congestion or blockage, chronic sinus infections that do not improve with treatment, unexplained nosebleeds, pain or pressure in the face or around the eyes, swelling or lumps in the face, nose, or mouth, or any other unusual or worrisome symptoms related to the nasal area, it is advisable to consult a doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms, perform necessary examinations, and determine if further investigation is required to diagnose or rule out nasal cancer.


The genes that drive cell growth become damaged or abnormal, which leads to nasal cancer. Experts are still unsure about the precise cause of these gene changes. Here are some of the causes of nasal cancer:

  • Wood or leather dust
  • Tobacco smoke (both primary and secondary)
  • Vapours from certain chemicals and substances, including radium, glue, solvents and formaldehyde.

Risk Factors

Several well-known factors are associated with an increased risk of developing nasal and sinus cancer. These include:

  • Prolonged exposure to certain substances: Including wood dust, cloth fibres, leather dust, chromium, nickel, and formaldehyde.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): This group of viruses infect the skin and moist membranes, such as the throat and mouth.
  • Smoking: The more you smoke, the more likely you are to acquire cancer, including nose cancer.


The initial step in diagnosing nasal cancer involves a comprehensive physical examination conducted by a healthcare provider, who will inquire about your symptoms. The healthcare professional will next suggest the proper tests based on your specific circumstances, which may include:

  • Nasal endoscopy: This procedure uses a flexible, thin tube equipped with a camera and small light. The healthcare provider will insert the endoscope into your nasal passages and sinuses to visually inspect the area.
  • Blood tests: A small blood sample will be collected for laboratory analysis to detect any indications of cancer.
  • Imaging tests: Various imaging techniques such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), X-rays, or CT (computed tomography) scans may be employed. These tests provide detailed images of the nasal area, helping to identify the presence and extent of tumors.
  • Biopsy: A healthcare provider will extract a small tissue sample from the tumor during a biopsy. The collected sample will then be sent to a laboratory for thorough analysis and definitive diagnosis.


The treatment approach for nasal cancer is determined by various factors, including medical history, tumor malignancy, and personal preferences. For noncancerous nasal tumors, healthcare providers typically advise surgical removal.

In the case of cancerous nasal tumors, the most common treatment strategy involves a combination of surgery and radiation therapy.

  • Surgery : The primary purpose of surgery is to remove cancer from the nose. If the cancer has progressed to nearby lymph nodes, it will also be removed.
  • Radiation therapy : Radiation therapy may be recommended as a stand-alone treatment or alongside surgery by the provider. Before surgery, you may be given radiation therapy to help reduce the cancer. Alternatively, you could have radiation therapy following surgery to eliminate leftover cancer cells. People who are unable to have surgery can instead receive radiation treatment.
  • Chemotherapy : Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses medication that eliminates cancer cells. It can be administered orally (by pill) or intravenously (through the vein). Chemotherapy is not as commonly utilised in treating nasal tumours as surgery or radiation therapy. However, your provider may recommend chemotherapy or chemoradiation (a mix of chemotherapy and radiation therapy) in certain situations.

Do's and Don’ts

Practice good nasal hygiene Smoke and inhale harmful fumes
Follow the treatment plan prescribed Discontinue or modify treatment without consulting your healthcare provider.
Protect your nasal cavity from irritants and pollutants Engage in activities that may cause nasal trauma
Adopt a healthy lifestyle Ignore or neglect persistent symptoms

Care at Medicover

Medicover Hospitals offers advanced laboratory testing specifically designed for diagnosing various disorders, including nasal cancer, along with state-of-the-art imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasounds.

Medicover Hospitals is proud to have a team of highly skilled and experienced specialists in nasal cancer care. Our consultants are renowned experts in the field, equipped with years of expertise and proficiency in handling nasal cancer emergencies or complex cases. These specialists provide comprehensive treatment to all patients, adopting a multidisciplinary approach to ensure optimal care and outcomes.

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