Tumors and Polyps of the Nose

MassEyeandEar_SinusCenter_NasalPolyps 1

Metson, Ralph; Mardon, Steven, The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healing Your Sinuses, McGraw-Hill Professional, Figure 4.3 Polyps, pg. 43. 

“Polyp” is a descriptive term for a small growth of tissue in the lining of the nose or sinuses. They most commonly occur as a result of inflammation of the nose from chronic rhinosinusitis; however, in rare cases they are associated with a tumor. Because of this, patients diagnosed with a polyp should be seen by an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

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 chronic rhinosinusitis associated polyps, which usually occur on both sides of the nose.

Symptoms of nasal polyps 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.

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, the Sinus Center works in collaboration with other partners such as the Head and Neck Surgical Oncology division at Mass. Eye and Ear and neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists at the MGH for evaluation and treatment of the tumor.

For more information on tumors and polyps of the nose, please speak with your physician.