Symptoms of sinus cancer often affect one side of the face and are similar to other more common conditions, such as allergic rhinitis. Sinus cancer is rare and accounts for only 3-5% of all neck and head cancers. This article reviews sinus cancer, its signs, symptoms, and more.

Are there early symptoms of sinus cancer?

A 2021 article claims there may be no symptoms in the early stages of sinus cancer. Signs and symptoms begin to appear as the tumor grows. Some symptoms of sinus cancer are similar to those of a cold or other infection, which means people may miss them.

The most common symptoms of sinus cancer are:

– a stuffy nose that does not resolve
– nosebleeds
– decreased sense of smell
– nasal mucus which may be bloody
– postnasal drip, that is to say a flow of mucus in the back of the nose and throat.
If a person is concerned about their symptoms, they should contact a doctor.

At what stage is a person most likely to notice sinus cancer symptoms?

Sinus cancer is unlikely to be large enough to cause symptoms until it has spread to other parts of the body. In Stage III, the cancer begins to spread and move, and this is when it is most likely to cause noticeable symptoms.


Sinus cancer can cause symptoms that affect the nose and eyes.

Nose symptoms

Sinus cancer can cause:

– nasal congestion on one side of the nose that does not go away
– nosebleeds
– decreased sense of smell
– nasal mucus which may be bloody
– post-nasal drip
– pus draining from the nose
Nasal congestion, or even complete obstruction, affecting one side of the nose and not going away, is one of the most common symptoms of sinus cancer.

Eye symptoms

Sinus cancer can cause the following symptoms:

– total or partial loss of sight
– swelling of one eye
– double vision
– pain above or below the eye
– constant tearing
– swelling of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue that covers the white of the eye.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms are as follows

movable teeth
pain or pressure affecting one of the ears
difficulty opening the mouth
a bump or growth that can develop anywhere on the face
facial pain or numbness that does not go away
swollen lymph nodes in the neck
hearing loss


To diagnose sinus cancer, the doctor takes a person’s medical history and performs a physical exam. During the physical examination, he will check:

the head and neck, including the nose
numbness, swelling, pain, and firmness of the face
lymph nodes to determine if they have swollen
eyes to check for changes in vision
facial symmetry.

If they suspect cancer, they will refer the person to an otolaryngologist. These medical professionals specialize in ear, nose and throat conditions. The otolaryngologist performs an indirect endoscopy. It uses a headlamp and small mirrors to examine a person’s nose, throat, mouth, and tongue.

He may also order one or more of the following imaging tests:

computed tomography (CT scan)
X-ray of the face
bone scan
PET scan
In addition to imaging tests, an otolaryngologist may order a biopsy. A biopsy involves removing a small section of tissue to look for cancer. The doctor may order a biopsy among several types, including the following:

fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNA)
endoscopic or open biopsy
incisional and excisional biopsies, which are minor surgical procedures to remove part or all of the tumour.

They may arrange additional tests to assess how the tumor may be affecting the person. They may include:

speech tests
blood tests
heart tests
hearing tests

Prospects and survival rates

A relative survival rate helps give an idea of ​​how long someone with a particular disease will live after being diagnosed, compared to people without that disease.
For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate is 70%, a person with the disease has a 70% chance of living for 5 years than someone without the disease. It is important to remember that these numbers are estimates. A person can consult a medical professional to find out how their illness will affect them.

Several factors affect a person’s outlook, including

the size of the tumor
the stage of the cancer
general health
the person’s response to treatment.

The 5-year survival rates for sinus cancer are as follows:

Stage 5-year relative survival rate
localized 85
regional 52
distant 42%.
all stages combined 58%.

When to contact a doctor

Many symptoms associated with sinus cancer are the same or similar to many benign conditions that affect the nasal passages. A person is more likely to have a benign condition than cancer. However, a person should see a doctor if their symptoms worsen or do not go away.


Sinus cancer is a rare form of cancer. It causes symptoms similar to several different mild conditions, which can make it difficult to detect early based on symptoms. The most common symptoms are nasal obstruction that affects one side of the face, nosebleeds, decreased sense of smell, postnasal drip, and mucus leaking from the nose.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.