Tumors and Polyps of the Nose
Polyps are growths of tissue in the lining of your nose or sinuses. They most commonly occur as a result of inflammation of the nose from chronic rhinosinusitis; however, in rare cases they can be associated with a tumor. Because of this, patients diagnosed with a polyp should be seen by an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Polyps can be associated with benign tumors, and less commonly with cancerous tumors. Nasal polyps associated with tumors usually occur on one side of the nose—as opposed to polyps associated with chronic rhinosinusitis, which usually occur on both sides of the nose.
Common symptoms include nasal obstruction, smell loss, and pain and pressure due to inflammation. In cases of benign or cancerous tumors, nasal bleeding often occurs.
Nasal polyps are diagnosed first by an endoscopic exam. If polyps are identified, a CT or MRI scan may be ordered, and sometimes a biopsy is recommended to have the tissue analyzed by a pathologist.
Nasal polyps that arise due to chronic rhinosinusitis are treated with oral and topical medications that are directed at reducing the inflammation. In some patients whose polyps grow despite aggressive medical treatment, endoscopic sinus surgery may be recommended to physically remove the polyps.
Treatment for nasal polyps associated with tumors is dependent on what the pathology shows, ranging from surgical removal to medical treatment and/or radiation therapy. In cases where nasal polyps are associated with cancerous tumors, we will work in collaboration with our Head and Neck Oncology Division and neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists at Mass General for evaluation and treatment of the tumor.
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