Many cancers have been linked to environmental factors, but sinonasal cancer in particular has been found to occur most particularly in individuals who have been engaged in industrial work. Successful treatment for sinonasal cancer is largely dependent upon catching it in its early stages, but as will be seen, this can be difficult because this form of cancer mimics other, less serious illnesses.
Sinonasal Cancer Explained
Sinonasal cancer is a type of cancer which affects the ethmoid and maxillary sinuses and nasal cavity. Also known as sinonasal adenocarcinoma and nasal cancer, this disease can be quite aggressive, metastasizing quickly. Thus, successful treatment is dependent upon an early diagnosis.
Causal Link to Sinonasal Cancer
Sinonasal cancer is very rare. It is often misdiagnosed as a sinus infection, the fact of which can delay treatment and reduce the chances of survival. A link between this disease and industrial work became evident in the 1960s, and it is now clear that individuals whose work exposes them to wood dust particles, metals, and certain other materials are particularly prone to developing sinonasal cancer.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
As with other cancer types, sinonasal cancer is categorized by progressive stages. A stage one cancer, then, is one that is limited to one particular area, while later stages are characterized by invasion of the cancer into other areas of the body. As mentioned, early symptoms can also suggest other, less serious illnesses. These symptoms include obstructions to nasal passages, nosebleeds, and discharge from the nose. Some patients experience pain to the upper set of teeth as well.
Later stages of sinonasal cancer produce symptoms such as double vision, hearing loss, bulges in the nose or cheek, and enlarged lymph nodes.
Once the physician rules out other illnesses, diagnosis will entail an evaluation of the patient’s medical history, particularly in regard to sinus-related maladies. Tests may include X-rays of the chest, a CT scan, MRI, and endoscopy. Ultimately, a biopsy will likely be necessary.
Treatment and Prognosis
As with other cancers, successful treatment of sinonasal cancer depends upon how far the disease has progressed. If the cancer has metastasized, effective treatment is more of a challenge. Generally speaking, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgery are the most likely treatments. If surgery proves impossible, the doctor may perform an electrodissection or cryotherapy; the former of these involves burning the tumor with electricity, while the latter involves freezing it with liquid nitrogen.
There is no cure for sinonasal cancer, but a patient who remains free of the cancer for five years is considered cured.
If you have been diagnosed with sinonasal cancer, and suspect that exposure to wood dust, metals, and other substances may be the cause, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away.