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Cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses

Squamous epithelial carcinoma is the main type of cancer occurring in the nose and sinuses. Adenocarcinomas, olfactory neuroblastoma, sarcomas, and other tumor forms also occur. 

The nasal cavity includes:

  • the nasal septum
  • the lateral nasal wall including nasal conchae (or turbinates) and corresponding meati 
  • the anterior nasal spine
  • the nasal roof including the cribiform plate
  • the nasal floor 

The sinuses include:

  1. the frontal sinus
  2. the ethmoidal sinus
  3. the maxillary sinus 
  4. the sphenoidal sinus 

The nose and sinuses include the mucosa of the upper airways and olfactory epithelium. 

Treatment for cancer in the nose and sinuses has significant impact on the patient's speech and appearance. How extensive the changes will be depends on the site and stage of the tumor. In order to reduce the burdens treatment may cause the patient, thorough information and follow-up are very important (2).


I 2015 there were 39 new cases of cancer in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses in Norway (1). The disease affects men more often than women.

The average age for all sites in the head and neck region is about 64 years. 


Age-specific incidence of cancer in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway



Incidence of cancer in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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