Nasal and sinus cancer affects the nasal cavity (above the roof of your mouth) and the sinuses (small, air-filled cavities inside your nose, behind your cheekbones and forehead).

Nasal and sinus cancer is rare in the UK, and only around 460 cases are diagnosed each year.

However, several factors are known to increase the risk of developing the condition, including:

  • gender – men are much more likely to develop nasal and sinus cancer than women
  • smoking – the more you smoke, the higher your risk of developing several types of cancer, including nasal and sinus cancer
  • having previously had radiotherapy to treat hereditary retinoblastoma (a rare type of eye cancer that affects children under five)
  • exposure to certain substances through work, including wood dust, leather dust, nickel, formaldehyde and cloth fibres
  • human papilloma virus (HPV) – a large group of viruses that affect the skin and moist membranes, such as the mouth and throat

Your risk may also be increased if you have a history of sinus or nose problems, or have previously had non-Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system).

Your treatment will be organised by the head and neck cancer multidisciplinary team (MDT) at the hospital. A keyworker will be assigned to you to act as support and a main contact point while you receive care. The cancer team will discuss treatment options with you.

The best treatment for nasal and sinus cancer depends on several factors, including the stage of your cancer and your general health.

The outlook for nasal and sinus cancer can vary, depending on where the cancer is located and how far it has spread (the stage) before it is diagnosed and treated. Cancer of the nasal cavity generally has a better outlook than cancer of the sinuses.

Read more about diagnosing and treating head and neck cancer at UCLH.