If you’ve just been diagnosed with nasal cavity cancer, you’re probably wondering about your next steps. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the news, and it’s also understandable if you feel you need some time to process it. However, the more quickly you get started with treatment, the better your outcome and quality of life are likely to be.
That’s not to say that you don’t have time to get a second (or third) opinion. Nasal cavity cancer is not particularly common, so it can be helpful to ask an experienced head and neck oncologist to review your diagnosis.
It can also be helpful to learn a bit more about nasal cavity cancer before making any major decisions. Depending on the location, stage and cellular makeup of your tumor, you may have a variety of treatment options, each with its own set of advantages. And, depending on how far your condition has progressed, you may experience certain symptoms. However, you can talk with your treatment team about supportive care options that can help you manage any issues that arise.
What are the most common symptoms of nasal cavity cancer?
Perhaps you’ve already started to experience symptoms and discussed them with a physician, which led to your diagnosis. It’s also possible that you haven’t experienced any symptoms at all, or that new symptoms will develop in the future. Potential issues you might experience include:
- Chronic nasal congestion and difficulty breathing
- Changes in your sense of smell
- Changes in your vision
- Pain in the front areas of your face or in your ears
How is nasal cavity cancer treated?
If your tumor is small and has not spread, your oncologist may recommend surgery. Even if your tumor has started to spread, it may still be possible to remove the cancerous cells along with some surrounding bones and soft tissues. If you need a more extensive operation, you may consider reconstructive surgery to enhance your quality of life.
Radiation therapy is also used to treat nasal cavity cancer. This treatment can be used instead of surgery, or before or after an operation to destroy cancerous cells. Or, if your cancer has spread to your brain or spinal cord, radiation therapy can be delivered to those specific locations as well.
Your oncologist might also recommend chemotherapy or targeted therapies to destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy medications destroy all rapidly dividing cells, while targeted therapies specifically seek out cancerous cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed.
If you have questions that you’d like to ask a nasal cavity cancer specialist, you can come to Moffitt Cancer Center. No referral is required to make an appointment with our Head and Neck Cancer Program, which is home to highly experienced surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and otolaryngologists. To schedule an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.