Nasal masses are relatively rare lesions. They can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
The most common benign masses besides nasal polyps are inverted papillomas, osteomas and angiofibromas, and the most common symptoms associated with these masses are nasal obstruction with associated sinusitis, nosebleeds and a loss of smell and taste.
Because of the close proximity of the sinuses to the brain and eyes, growth of these lesions can cause serious symptoms as they grow within the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, including double vision, eye pressure, headaches, and intracranial complications. In addition, some benign conditions have the potential to become malignant if left untreated.
Malignant tumors of the sinuses are rare and account for less than one percent of all cancers. Common examples include squamous cell cancers, esthesioneuroblastomas, mucosal melanomas and adenocarcinoma.
Malignant tumors of the sinuses can spread directly to the brain or to they rest of the body by way of systemic metastases. They are difficult to treat and can be fatal.
Benign and malignant tumors are best treated with surgery, followed by radiation and or chemotherapy in the case of malignant tumors.
The University of Arizona Center for Sinonasal and Skull Base Tumors, co-directed by Dr. Alexander Chiu and Dr. Michael Lemole, Chief of Neurosurgery, is one of the leading centers in the west coast for the multi-disciplinary care of these rare conditions.