Nasal and sinus cancers are cancers that affect the:

  • Nasal cavity, the space behind the nose
  • Sinuses, the spaces around the nose, also called the paranasal sinuses

These tumors are extremely rare and often benign, or noncancerous. However, some benign nasal and sinus tumors can develop into cancer if left untreated.

Ear Nose Throat specialty national ranking badgeNasal & Sinus Cancer at UK Markey Cancer Center

Tumors of the sinuses or the inside of the nose can require advanced treatments and surgery that isn’t available everywhere. At Markey, you’ll find specially trained head and neck surgeons experienced in the latest surgical techniques.

We offer minimally invasive surgery that allows surgeons to:

  • Operate inside the nose and sinuses with fewer incisions
  • See where they are operating with 3D imaging

Our providers specialize in treating head and neck cancers. Our team includes:

  • Medical oncologists who are experts in treating nasal and sinus cancers and other head and neck cancers
  • Experienced ear, nose and throat surgeons, dedicated to treating cancers of the head and neck
  • Neurosurgeons with special training in skull base tumors
  • Radiation oncologists who are experts at delivering precise radiation while protecting critical parts of the head and neck
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Nurses, nutritionists, speech language pathologists and rehabilitation therapists

For larger tumors, our team works together with neurosurgeons, oculoplastic surgeons and reconstructive surgeons to provide the best outcomes possible.

Symptoms of nasal and sinus cancer are similar to a cold or sinus infection and may include:

  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Nosebleeds
  • Runny nose or mucus draining into your throat
  • Sinus pain or pressure
  • Stuffy nose, usually on one side

More advanced symptoms may include:

  • Changes of feeling in the face and forehead
  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Facial swelling
  • Headache or facial pain

According to the American Cancer Society, nasal and sinus cancer five-year relative survival rates depend on the extent that the cancer has spread. Cancer localized to the nasal cavity or paranasal sinus has a five-year survival rate of 82 percent. Cancer that has progressed and spread to distant sites has a five-year survival rate of 43 percent.

You can lower your risk of cancer by taking steps to build a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can lower your risk for this disease, as well as improve your overall basic health:

  • Avoid using tobacco products. Tobacco has been tied to multiple cancers, and it is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.
  • Stay physically active. Your physical activity is related to risk for colon and breast cancer. Excess weight gained from inactivity increases the risk of multiple cancers.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. It is important to be mindful of how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol intake, even in moderate amounts, can increase the risk for colon, breast, esophageal and oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Learn about screenings. Your primary care doctor can recommend appropriate cancer screenings based on your age, personal risk and family history.
  • Age 55 or older
  • Human papillomavirus infection
  • Male
  • Prior radiation treatment for hereditary retinoblastoma (a form of eye cancer)
  • Race (more commonly diagnosed in Caucasians than African Americans)
  • Smoking
  • Workplace exposure to substances like dusts from leather, wood or textiles; flour; nickel and chromium dust; and exposure to mustard gas and radium
  • For your first visit, you will be directed to the Head, Neck & Respiratory Clinic on the second floor of the Ben F. Roach Cancer Care Facility
  • You can register on the first floor in the registration area, where a Markey team member will help guide you through your appointment.
  • Several parking options are available to patients of Markey Cancer Center.
  • Please remember to bring your patient packet with the completed forms. These items will help your doctor learn more about your case and determine the best plan for your care.
  • To meet our patient needs, UK HealthCare accepts many forms of insurance.  

Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating medical, surgical or behavioral interventions to determine if a new treatment is safe and effective.

At UK Markey Cancer Center, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.

Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials of the head and neck, including trials for nasal and sinus cancer.

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 57 in the nation.