I’ve had a stuffy nose for months. Could it be cancer?
While long-lasting nasal congestion isn’t a diagnosis in and of itself, it is a primary symptom of sinus cancer. And, without feeling congested or experiencing other common symptoms associated with the disease, sinus cancer is rarely found unless it occurs accidentally during a routine examination. “Sinus cancer is a perfect example of what I always tell patients,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, Founder & CEO of Causenta. “It is important to get regular check-ups with your doctor and to be aware of changes in your health.”
Sinus Cancer Clues
Other than nasal congestion that does not go away with regular treatment or even becomes worse, other clues you may have sinus cancer are:
- Hearing loss
- Pain or pressure, especially in one ear
- Pain around the eyes
- Bulging, especially on only one side
- Loss of or changes in vision
- Constant watering of eyes
- Numbness or pain in parts of the face
- Growth or mass on the face
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck (seen or felt as lumps under the skin)
- Loose teeth
- Trouble opening the mouth
- Growth in the roof of the mouth
- Blockage in one nostril
- Post-nasal drip (nasal drainage in the back of the nose and throat)
- Pus draining from the nose
- Decreased or loss of sense of smell
- Growth in the nose
Most of these symptoms are likely caused by something benign, but if they progress or persist after treatment, it is important to seek additional advice from your physician to rule out sinus cancer. When found early, the American Cancer Society reports an 85%, five-year survival rate; once the cancer spreads outside of the nasal cavity, the five-year prognosis averages 50%.
Treatment Options for Sinus Cancer
Traditional Standard of Care treatment options for sinus cancer include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy depending on the stage of disease. Often, if the cancer is Stage 1, surgery is recommended as the first step in treatment since the tumor can be removed. “It is important for patients to understand side effects and long-term changes surgery may have,” says Incledon. “And, it is also important to have follow-up treatment options available since surgery cannot remove cancer cells that may remain in the blood.”
There are also some newer, more targeted treatment options that work to slow or stop the growth of sinus cancer cells by blocking a protein receptor in the cells. The team at Causenta is always up-to-date on the latest medical research so that we can provide the best possible care to our patients.
“When patients come to us, we always do a full workup and review all of their medical records so that we are evaluating their case holistically,” says Incledon. “For some patients, their sinus cancer may not involve an issue with a protein receptor. It is important for us to know that before we decide on which strategies will be most effective.”
For more information about personalized treatment options and care for sinus cancer at Causenta, schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation today.