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Sinus cancer


Cancer of the sinuses is a disease affecting the air cavities in the bones of the skull. There are various cranial sinuses that are lined with mucous membranes and communicate with the nasal cavity, each of which can be affected: the frontal sinuses on each side of the forehead above the orbits, the maxillary sinuses in the cheeks, the ethmoidal sinuses on either side of the nose, and the sphenoidal sinuses near the bone of the same name. Sinus cancers are relatively rare and are more common in people who work in certain professional circles: in the presence of tannins (woodworkers and leather smiths), dust (textile industry), nickel, asbestos or cutting oil, among others.


The signs of sinus cancer are not specific to this disease. However, they should alert the patient, especially if he works in an industry known to be at risk. One may feel a sense of unilateral nasal obstruction over an unusually long period without signs of colds or allergies, or also a runny nose on one side with a gradual worsening. Sometimes there is also unusual bleeding nose, pain in the sinuses, pain around the eye or headache.


The diagnosis of sinus cancer is suspected from the symptoms mentioned by the patient and after a series of examinations. The procedure including a full assessment of the head and neck, X-rays, a CT scan or a nasal endoscopy often called nasal endoscopy to visualize the inside of the sinuses directly with a mini camera. Samples or biopsies can be performed during the last examination to determine the nature of a lesion. In case of confirmation of the cancerous nature of the injury, staging will be done, that is to say examinations to see the potential invasion of the tumor to other nearby structures, possibly lymph or other organs.


The treatment of sinus cancer is tailored to each patient, to the nature of the tumor, but also to the results of staging that classifies the tumor according to its evolution. The main treatments are surgery, which can be implemented based on the location of the cancer and the stage of cancer, external radiotherapy and brachytherapy. Chemotherapy is usually associated with radiotherapy, especially when the cancer is very advanced or is a relapse.


Sinus cancer prevention is mainly assured by early detection. This condition is also prominent in risky occupations where it is necessary to protect oneself against dust or other materials in the workplace by implementing adapted protection systems (mask, suction system, etc..).

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