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designated cancer center

Diagnosis and Treatment of Nose (Nasal Cavity) Cancer

Nose cancer is more accurately described as nasal cavity cancer. The nasal cavity includes the nostrils, structures inside the nose, and the passageway just behind the nose through which air passes on the way to the throat during breathing. Only a minority of nasal cavity cancers actually originate in this region.

The majority are cancers that have migrated from other tissues such as the sinuses or the nasopharynx.  These cancers are typically squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they arise from flat, thin cells in the epidermis lining the nasal cavity. Other more rare cancers that can arise in the nasal cavity include melanomas (color-making skin cells), and sarcomas (muscle or connective tissue cells).

Chronic exposure to metals like nickel and chromium, and a variety of organic chemicals used in manufacturing greatly increase the risk of developing nose cancer. Early nasal cavity cancer can produce symptoms that are very similar to less serious nasal diseases such as swelling of the sinuses, headache, chronic infections, and/or blurred vision.

Nevertheless, early detection and treatment of nose cancer greatly improves survival rates, so it is important not to neglect potential symptoms, particularly if you have been exposed to agents known to increase risk.

Stanford Expertise

Cancer of the nasal cavity is one of the most rare forms of head and neck cancer. Therefore, it is important to be seen by a team of physicians who have expertise in treating this specific disease.

Nose cancers can be treated with surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy depending on the stage and type of cancer.

The head and neck cancer specialists at the Stanford Cancer Center have experience treating nasal cavity cancer, and will provide you with the multidisciplinary, quality, compassionate care that you deserve.

Your doctors and nurses will take care to minimize and manage treatment side effects like mucositis or effects on your ability to smell, and if the cancer is advanced, reconstructive plastic surgeons and speech therapists are integrated into treatment to ensure maximum success in preserving your appearance and ability to taste, swallow, and speak.

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