What Is Nasal Cancer?


Quick Answer

There are at least seven different types of cancer that can affect the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses, according to the American Cancer Society. The most common of these is when the squamous epithelial cells, which are flat cells that make up most of the tissue that produces mucous, become squamous cell carcinomas.

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The next most common form of nasal cancer is when minor salivary gland cells turn into adenocarcinomas, adenoid cystic carcinomas, and mucoepidermoid cancers, explains the ACS. As well as this, mucosa cells can also form undifferentiated carcinomas, which are often grow so fast that the cells look incredibly abnormal. Another type is caused by melanocytes, which are cells that cause tan pigmentation of the skin. These can turn into melanomas and are known to form in the nasal cavity.

Each type of nasal cancer can cause a number of symptoms, notes the American Society of Clinical Oncology. A few of these symptoms, which may serve to indicate whether or not a trip to the doctor is in order, include persistent nasal congestion, continuous sinus infections, common headaches in the sinus region, swelling and pain in the region of the face and chronic tearing. Additional symptoms are loss of vision, lowered sense of smell, numbness in the teeth, loose teeth and a lump around the nasal cavity. Frequent runny noses and nosebleeds can occur, as can fatigue and unexplained weight loss.

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