Enhanced Verifiable CPD from the
University of Birmingham

Dentaljuce Shorts: 500 words, 10 MCQs, on general medicine and surgery.

Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancer

Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer is a type of malignancy that originates in the paranasal sinuses or the nasal cavity. This cancer is more prevalent in males and typically affects individuals between the ages of 50 and 70.

Early symptoms are often minimal, making early diagnosis challenging. The primary risk factors include exposure to certain environmental substances, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption. Diagnosis and treatment involve a combination of imaging techniques, physical examinations, and various therapeutic interventions.

Diagram of nasal cavity
Diagram of nasal cavity

Signs and Symptoms

In the early stages, paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer may not present significant symptoms, often being discovered incidentally during treatment for other sinus conditions like sinusitis. However, as the disease progresses, more apparent symptoms emerge due to the spread of malignant cells into adjacent structures.

Common signs include sinus pressure, pain, nasal obstruction, headaches, nosebleeds, and ear pain.

Paranasal sinuses
Paranasal sinuses

If the tumour invades the orbit, symptoms may include proptosis and diplopia. Invasion into the infratemporal fossa, pterygopalatine fossae, or masseteric space can cause trismus, facial swelling, toothache, and mid-face or jaw numbness. Cranial cavity invasion can lead to headaches, nerve damage, and cerebrospinal fluid leaks.

Risk Factors

Cigarettes and Tobacco Products

Smoking is a significant risk factor, with smokers having a 20% increased risk of developing nasal cancer. The risk escalates with the duration and quantity of smoking. Quitting smoking reduces this risk. Additionally, secondhand smoke exposure can also contribute to the risk of nasal cancer.

Smoking is strongly related to paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer
Smoking is strongly related to paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer

Environmental Factors

Exposure to wood dust, nickel dust, radium fumes, and formaldehyde fumes used in leather and textile production increases the risk of developing these cancers. Air pollution is also a contributing factor.

Other Factors

Alcohol consumption, although not linked to specific histological types, may increase the risk. Diets high in salted and smoked foods, human papillomavirus infection, and chronic nasal conditions also elevate the risk of developing paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer.


Physical Examination

A physical examination can reveal signs like swollen lymph nodes or lumps. Although there are no specific blood or urine tests for this cancer, medical history can provide essential diagnostic clues.

Imaging Techniques

  • X-rays, CT Scans, and MRI: X-rays help identify sinus abnormalities, while MRI is more effective for soft tissue and fluid tumour detection. CT scans are useful for detecting bone damage.
  • Bone Scan: Used to check if cancer has spread to the bone.
  • PET Scan: Helps detect cancer cells in the body.


A biopsy involves examining a tissue sample under a microscope to confirm the presence of cancerous cells. This is often the definitive diagnostic method.


A nasoscopy, an endoscopic procedure, involves inserting a nasoscope into the nose to identify abnormal areas. Tissue samples can be extracted for further examination.


Treatment typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.


Surgery aims to remove cancerous tissue and is often followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The extent of surgery depends on the spread of cancer. In cases where cancer has spread significantly, extensive craniofacial surgery may be required, and prostheses or soft tissue may be used to fill the resulting gaps. Neck dissection might be performed if cancer has spread to the neck lymph nodes.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and is often used post-surgery. VMAT is preferred over IMRT for its precision. Side effects may include tooth decay, which can be mitigated by dental treatment before radiation, and skin irritation.


Chemotherapy is used before or after surgery or radiation therapy to treat paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer. Common side effects include infections and hair loss.

Self-assessment MCQs (single best answer)

Which demographic is most commonly affected by paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer?

Which of the following is NOT a common symptom of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer?

Which imaging technique is particularly effective for detecting soft tissue and fluid tumours?

What is the primary purpose of a biopsy in diagnosing paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer?

Which of the following environmental factors does NOT increase the risk of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer?

What is a potential side effect of radiation therapy for paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer?

Which treatment method involves using high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells?

What does a nasoscopy involve?

Which of the following is a risk factor specifically related to lifestyle?

What is the preferred radiation therapy technique for its precision in treating paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer?


Dentaljuce provides Enhanced Continuing Professional Development (CPD) with GDC-approved Certificates for dental professionals worldwide.

Founded in 2009 by the award-winning Masters team from the School of Dentistry at the University of Birmingham, Dentaljuce has established itself as the leading platform for online CPD.

With over 100 high-quality online courses available for a single annual membership fee, Dentaljuce offers comprehensive e-learning designed for busy dental professionals.

The courses cover a complete range of topics, from clinical skills to patient communication, and are suitable for dentists, nurses, hygienists, therapists, students, and practice managers.

Dentaljuce features Dr. Aiden, a dentally trained AI-powered personal tutor available 24/7 to assist with queries and provide guidance through complex topics, enhancing the learning experience.

Check out our range of courses, or sign up now!

Membership Options

Dentaljuce offers a range of membership options…

Regular Membership

With enhanced CPD Certificates. Dentaljuce is brought to you by the award winning Masters team from the School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham, UK. All have won awards for web based learning and teaching and are recognised as leaders and innovators in this field, as well as being highly experienced clinical teachers. Full access to over 100 courses, no extras to pay.

Buy Now

£89.00 per year

Student Membership

No Certificates. With universities cutting down on traditional lectures, many students are currently having to rely more on online resources. If you don't need CPD Certificates, we are offering an amazing discount on your Dentaljuce personal membership fee. Special student price just £29 for 12 months individual membership.

Buy Now

£29.00 per year

I cannot believe how brilliant this site is. I have passed Part 1 of the MJDF exam, and it will help so much for my Part 2. The animations, videos and content in general is just brilliant. Thank you.

© Dentaljuce 2024 | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy

Recording CPD time: recorded.