|Nasal Cavity/Paranasal Sinuses|
Head and Neck Cancer Introduction Page
Nasal Cavity/Paranasal Sinuses
The nasal cavity and adjacent sinuses are located above the roof of the mouth (hard palate) and border the eyes and the brain at the level of the skull base.
Tumors affecting the nasal cavity and sinuses may show up as symptoms
normally related to adjacent structures. These symptoms include progressive
nasal obstruction, nasal bleeding, and nasal discharge. Also, symptoms
are sometimes similar to those of sinus infections, including headaches,
upper dental pain and discomfort behind the cheeks, or above the eyes.
Facial swelling may be present.
People with a history of chronic sinus infections (especially with nasal polyps) and wood dust exposure seem to be at a higher risk of developing these tumors.
If tumor is within the nasal cavity, a biopsy may be performed with local anesthesia. CT scan (which uses X-rays to create a two-dimensional image of the area), and MRI scans (which uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to visualize the detailed anatomy) will evaluate the extent of the tumor. These tools may also help define any involvement of the eye, brain, surrounding soft tissue, or possible spread of tumor to the lymph nodes of the neck. Advanced tumors may require a PET scan, which creates computerized images of the metabolic changes that occur in tissue, to define possible tumor spread to other areas of the body.
If there is evidence of tumor in the neck lymph nodes, these lymph nodes will also be surgically removed.
Click Here for more information about radiation oncology treatments for head and neck cancer.
After treatment is completed, the patient enters the follow-up phase.
Usually, all of the treating physicians are involved in follow-up evaluations.
For the first year, patients are usually seen every one to two months.
During the second year, they are often seen every two to three months.
After the second year, patients are usually seen every three to six months.
Of course, the follow-up schedule is individualized for each patient.