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Nose and Sinus Tumors


x-ray of nose and sinus tumors

Nose and sinus tumors are abnormal growths that begin in and around the nasal cavity. Nasal tumors begin in the nasal cavity and the sinuses. These types of tumors can be either benign or cancerous tumors, although cancerous tumors are rare, with only about 2,000 being diagnosed in the United States each year.


Factors that may increase the risk of nose and sinus tumors include:

  • Smoking and being around people who are smoking
  • Breathing in air pollution
  • Long-term exposure to workplace chemicals and irritants, such as wood dust, glue fumes, rubbing alcohol and formaldehyde, and dust from flour, chromium, and nickel
  • Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV)


Although many nose and sinus tumors exhibit no symptoms, if the following symptoms are persistent or prolonged, a tumor may be present. These symptoms include:

  • Persistent nasal congestion, especially on one side
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Facial pain in the forehead, cheek, nose, around the eyes or ear
  • Post-nasal drip at the back of the throat
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste
  • Pain or numbness in the face or teeth
  • Growth or lump in the face, nose, palate, or neck
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Difficulty hearing


If the tumor is benign, it will most often be removed endoscopically. Removing the tumor is recommended even when it is benign because many can grow to large sizes, causing obstructions and damaging surrounding structures.


If cancer is present, it will typically be treated with a combination of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. However, surgery may also be necessary, particularly if the tumor is recurrent. If a tumor has spread into the cheek, eye, brain, nerves, or other key structures in the skull, an open surgical approach may be required.

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