Medical experts believe that the causes of benign sinonasal tumors such as a nasal papillomas include inflammation inside the nose, according to the Yale School of Medicine. Nasal papillomas can also be caused by chronic rhinosinusitis or viruses. Some researchers are investigating whether the human papillomavirus causes these growths, reports the Canadian Cancer Society.
Sometimes no one knows what causes a nasal papilloma, notes the Yale School of Medicine. They are most commonly seen in middle-aged to elderly men, claims the Canadian Cancer Society.
Many types of nasal papillomas are inverted, which means they are one-sided and grow into the bone, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Though these growths are usually noncancerous and slow-growing, they can interfere with the ability to breathe or smell if they grow too large, explains Yale School of Medicine. Very large papillomas can even affect a person's vision.
An inverting or inverted papilloma that is left untreated also has the potential to not just grow into the bone around the sinuses but to destroy it, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. It can even penetrate the brain, which can lead to death. In a few cases, an inverting papilloma is found growing with a squamous cell cancer. Because of this, it is prudent to have inverting papillomas removed before they start to cause problems.