Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity - Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Malignant tumours include paranasal sinus and nasal cavity carcinoma. These are two of the main cancers that commonly affect the head and neck area. They are a part of the head and neck cancer tumour subtype. All of the...

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Tumours of the nose and paranasal are abnormal growths. The paranasal sinuses, which surround the nose and are air-filled chambers, are where paranasal tumours start.

Nasal and paranasal tumours come in a variety of varieties. They may be malignant or may be benign.

Healthy cells in the body begin to alter and grow out of control to form a mass known as a tumour, which is how cancer starts.

A tumour may be benign or malignant. Malignant describes a malignant tumour's capacity to develop and metastasize to different body regions. If a tumour is benign, it can enlarge but won't spread.

Typically, a benign tumour can be removed without it returning.

Malignant tumours include paranasal sinus and nasal cavity carcinoma. These are two of the main cancers that commonly affect the head and neck area. They are a part of the head and neck cancer tumour subtype. All of the sinuses can develop paranasal sinus cancer, although the maxillary sinus is where it typically starts.

Nasal Cavity Vasculature and Innervation

  • The nose is where the respiratory system begins. The two apertures in the nose are called the nostrils.
  • The area directly within the nose is known as the nasal vestibule. It is bordered with skin and coarse hairs and supported by cartilage. To keep big objects like sand, grit, and even insects from entering the nasal passage, these hairs catch them.
  • Opening into the nasal cavity is the nasal vestibule. A cartilage and bone wall separates the left and right sides of the nasal cavity (called the nasal septum). When you breathe, air travels through these tubes.
  • The paranasal sinuses encircle the nasal cavity, which is located above the palate, the roof of the mouth. In the mouth, it connects with the nasopharynx, the upper portion of the throat (pharynx).

What is the Anatomy of the Paranasal Sinus?

  • The air-filled spaces inside the skull that surround the nose are called the paranasal sinuses.
  • The paranasal sinuses and the nasal cavity are related.

Additional Adjacent Buildings

Near the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity are other structures like:

  • Skull bones make up the eye socket (called the orbit), the sphenoid bone, and the ethmoid bone.
  •  The maxilla lymph nodes in the neck (called cervical lymph nodes)
  • Nerves that govern swallowing, vision, smell, hearing, and eye movement

Let's Introduce the Nasal Cavity

The nasal cavity is accessible from the nose. This cavity is a gap that extends along the palate, the wall separating the nose from the mouth, and then curves slightly downward to connect with the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat).

Sinuses of the Nose

Little air-filled cavities in the bones are called sinuses to connect the nasal cavity to the rest of the body. Because they surround the nose, they are referred to as paranasal. According to the bones they are in, the various sinuses are given distinct names:

  1. Maxillary sinus: Located in the upper jaw's maxilla, behind the cheeks, on the nose and below the eyes. They have a pyramidal form. The paranasal sinuses are characterised by their size.

Frontal sinus: Located in the frontal bone, behind the eyebrows and above the nose. A small bone wall separates the two hollow spaces.

3. Ethmoid sinus: Little hollow areas called ethmoid sinuses can be found in the ethmoid bone. They come in different sizes and numbers.

4. Sphenoid sinus: The sphenoid bone, which is deep inside the skull, contains the sphenoid sinus. It is situated behind the nasal cavity and ethmoid sinuses. A narrow bone wall divides it into a left and right sinus.

Here are the Types of cells in the Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity

A layer of tissue that produces mucus lines the nasal cavity and the paranasal sinuses (called the mucous membrane, or the mucosa). Many cell types can be found in the mucous membrane, including:

  • Epithelial squamous cells
  • Cells from the salivary glands
  • Nerve fibres
  • Immune cells
  • Cells in blood vessels

Exploring the Inner Pathways: Functions of the Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses

  • They aid in humidifying, warming, and filtering the air you breathe.
  • They enable resonance in your voice (sound).
  • They reduce the skull's weight.
  • They provide the face and eyes with a bony framework.

Risk Indicators of Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Ailments

Risk factors for various malignancies vary. One risk factor that can be changed is smoking. Others, such as an individual's age or family history, are unchangeable.

  • Workplace hazards: Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus malignancies are more likely to occur in people who work in specific occupations.
  • Smoking: Specifically, the squamous cell variety raises the risk of cancer of the nasal cavity.
  •  Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Around 200 related viruses collectively make up the human papillomavirus (HPV). They are classified as papillomaviruses because certain of them are known to create papillomas, which are benign (not cancerous) growths that are more generally known as warts.
  • Age: Eight out of ten people (8%) who have paranasal sinus or nasal cavity cancer are older than 55.

How can we get rid of Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer?

  • Cancer and genes: The information in a cell's DNA plays a major role in how it develops into a typical human cell. The substance called DNA makes up our genes, which provide the instructions for how each of our cells should work. As our DNA comes from our parents, we often resemble them. But, Genetics has an impact beyond how we appear.
  • Exposures at work and tobacco: The DNA of the cells that line the inside of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses is thought to be damaged by some risk factors, such as tobacco use and workplace exposure to specific chemicals.
  • H. papillomavirus (HPV): Oropharyngeal malignancies have been linked to high-risk HPV variants. Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers have been linked to some high-risk HPV types, but additional research is required to determine whether HPV infection is the direct cause of these extremely rare cancers.

Nasal and Paranasal Sinus Distress: Recognizing the Symptoms

Tumours of the sinuses and nasal cavities rarely exhibit symptoms in the early stages. After a tumour has migrated to other surrounding tissue or gotten big enough to block the nasal canal or the affected sinus, most patients start to experience symptoms.

Frequent indications of sinus and nasal carcinoma include:

  • Congestion in the nose that won't go away
  • persistent sinus infections that are resistant to Antibiotic treatment
  • Chronic headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Nosebleeds
  • A diminished sense of smell and eye swelling

More severe illness is linked to:

  • Tingling in the cheek and upper lip and loose teeth.
  • Swelling of the neck, jaw, or mouth, and double vision.

Diverse Forms of Cancer: An Overview of Classification

Any form of a mucosal cell has the potential to develop into cancer, and each type of cancer behaves and develops uniquely.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinomas can develop from squamous epithelial cells (squamous cell cancer). The majority of cancers in the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavities are of this type. A little bit more than half of these tumours are caused by it.
  • Adenocarcinomas: Adenoid cystic carcinoma and mucoepidermoid malignancies can develop from benign salivary gland cells. They are the second-most frequent malignancies of the paranasal sinuses and the nose.
  • Undifferentiated carcinoma: Extremely aggressive cancer with abnormal-looking cells makes it difficult to recognise what type of cells they are.
  • Melanocytes: The colour or tan of the skin is given by these cells. One form of cancer that begins in these cells is melanoma. It spreads and grows swiftly. These tumours are typically detected on skin that has been exposed to the sun, but they can also develop on the lining of the nose, the sinuses, or other internal organs.
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma: A malignancy that begins in the olfactory nerve (the nerve for the sense of smell). Also known as olfactory neuroblastoma, this malignancy. It typically begins in the cribriform plate.
  • Lymphoma: Begins in immune system cells called lymphocytes. T-cell/NK cell nasal-type lymphoma, one of the lymphomas found here, was once known as midline fatal granuloma.

Additional growths in the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity

Even while some tumours in the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavities are not cancerous, they can nonetheless be problematic.

  • Nose polyps: Nasal polyps are unnatural growths that develop in the paranasal sinuses or nasal cavities. The majority of nasal polyps are benign (not cancerous) and are brought on by persistent, chronic inflammation of the nose.
  • Warts and papillomas: They typically have a rough exterior. Although papillomas are not cancerous, they can occasionally give rise to squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Papilloma Inverted: This particular papilloma develops downward and into the bone beneath. While being categorised as a benign tumour, an inverted papilloma can behave aggressively locally, much like a malignancy.

What are the investigated ions of the paranasal sinus and nasal cavity?

The majority of the time, signs or symptoms a person experiences lead to the discovery of nasal cavities and paranasal sinus malignancies. Tests will be performed, sometimes by specialists, to confirm the diagnosis of cancer if it is suspected.

  • Physical Examination and Medical History: Your medical background, current issues, and potential risk factors like your workplace and the substances you use at work will all be questioned. The doctor will examine you to check for any indications of paranasal sinus or nasal cavity cancer in addition to other medical conditions.

The doctor will carefully examine the lymph nodes in your neck and the head and neck region, including the nose and sinuses, for any numbness, pain, swelling, or hardness.

  • Imaging exams: Imaging tests produce images of the interior of your body using rays, magnetic fields, or radioactive materials. Imaging tests may be performed for a variety of reasons, both before and after a cancer diagnosis, but they are not used to diagnose cancers of the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses.
  • CT scan: A CT scan, also known as a CAT scan, creates fine-grained cross-sectional images of the inside of your body using rays. The size of the tumour, if it is growing into surrounding tissues, and whether it has spread to the neck lymph nodes can all be determined with the use of this test, which is also very useful in diagnosing malignancies of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. A CT scan reveals bone features and can reveal whether a tumour has harmed the bone around it. To determine whether cancer has progressed to the lungs, a chest CT may also be utilised. A
  • A PET scan or positron emission tomography: The fluorodeoxyglucose, or FDG, that is injected into your blood and concentrates mostly in cancer cells, is used in PET scans. After that, images of the locations where the radioactivity accumulated in your body were made using a special scanner.

When a CT or MRI scan fails to detect a visible tumour, a PET scan may be utilised to see potential sites of cancer spread.

  • Biopsy: During a biopsy, a little piece of tissue (a sample) is removed from the suspicious area so that it may be extensively studied in the lab. It's the only way to determine for sure if you have paranasal sinus cancer or cancer of the nasal cavity. Testing in the lab can reveal the type of cancer and its aggressiveness if it is discovered (how fast it will grow and spread).

What are the Healing Methods?

The following are the aims of treatment for cancer of the sinuses or nasal cavity:

  • Eradicating cancer: Maintain your look and normal functioning. The treatment strategy is determined to be the cancer's depth and extent. Cancers of the sinuses and nasal cavities are typically treated surgically. Surgery is frequently the sole therapy required for benign tumours and early-stage malignancies.
  • Radiation, chemotherapy: To lower the chance of the cancer returning, this can be done either before or after surgery. Nasal cavity and sinus tumours have been demonstrated to respond particularly well to a form of radiation therapy known as proton therapy. Proton treatment is only provided by w handful of cancer hospitals nationwide, including Memorial Sloan Kettering.


  1. Maxillectomy: A maxillectomy is a procedure to remove the upper jaw's bones. If the tumour is on the bones inside the walls of the nose or in the maxillary sinuses, our doctors could advise a maxillectomy. In this surgery, the physician avoids making an incision by cutting through the nostrils to remove the tumour and surrounding bone.
  2. Rhinectomy: The removal of the nose or a portion of the nose is known as a rhinectomy. Only those with cancers that pose an exceedingly high risk are often treated using this method.

The plastic and reconstructive surgeons at MSK are unmatched in their ability to assist patients who require a rhinectomy.

  1. Craniofacial Surgery in the Open Way: The tumour is removed through open craniofacial resection surgery through incisions made in the face and skull. Both above and below the tumour, surgery is performed. This increases the likelihood of eliminating the tumour. Also, it lessens the risk of harm to trainee nerves and other crucial organs.

This operation is exceedingly difficult. Doctors with experience are needed. A head and neck surgeon, a plastic surgeon, and a neurosurgeon make up the surgical team.

Malignant neoplasms of the rhinosinusitis area had an 11.94% frequency of metastases in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses.

Althoupatient'stients' chances of survival were low, the treatments they received had a high rate of local control and enhanced their quality of life.

Breathing easy starts with a clean bill of health. Get screened for cancer today!