Also part of the UPMC family:
Also part of the UPMC family:

​Sinus Tumors

What are Sinus Tumors?

Sinus and nasal cavity tumors mainly are benign and incapable of spreading to another part of the body. These tumors may occur on either side of the nose and are usually slow growing.

Malignant sinus tumors are rare. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of cancer found in the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity. Other malignancies may also be found, such as:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Lymphoma 
  • Melanoma

A rare type of polyp called an inverted papilloma usually is found on one side of the nose and can become malignant.

Sinus tumors are often diagnosed late because early symptoms are similar to those found in people diagnosed with acute and chronic sinusitis.

At UPMC, the preferred surgical treatment for sinus tumors is the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA).  This innovative, minimally invasive technique uses the nose and nasal cavities as natural corridors to access hard-to-reach or previously inoperable tumors. Benefits of EEA include:

  • No incisions to heal
  • No disfigurement
  • Faster recovery time

Diagnosing a Sinus Tumor

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about any symptoms you are experiencing.

Sinus tumor symptoms

Symptoms of a sinus tumor may include:

  • Blocked sinuses
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the sinus area
  • Runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Pain or pressure in the ear
  • Double vision, blurred vision, or loss of vision
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Loose teeth

Tests for diagnosing a sinus tumor

Your doctor also may want you to have diagnostic tests such as:

  • MRI and CT scans
  • X-rays
  • Nasoscopy
  • Biopsy

These tests will confirm where the sinus tumor is and determine whether it is cancerous.

Sinus Tumor Treatments

UPMC's neurosurgical team may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches for the treatment and removal of sinus tumors.

Sinus Tumor Surgery

Sinus tumors may be approached directly using the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA).This state-of-the-art, minimally invasive approach allows surgeons to access the tumor through the natural corridor of the nose, without making an open incision. Surgeons then remove the tumor through the nose and nasal cavities.

EEA offers the benefits of no incisions to heal, no disfigurement, and a faster recovery time.

If you need complementary treatments, such as radiation, those therapies can begin soon after EEA surgery.

When evaluating sinus tumors, our neurosurgeons will look at your condition from every direction in order to find the path that is least disruptive to your brain, critical nerves, and ability to return to normal functioning.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy may be used after surgery for a malignant sinus tumor. Radiation can be delivered:

  • Externally by directing radiation at the tumor from an outside source
  • Internally by placing radioactive material directly in the body near the cancer
  • Using stereotactic radiosurgery to deliver a concentrated dose of radiation directly to the tumor

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells.

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, chemotherapy may be taken by mouth, given by an injection, or placed directly into the brain tumor site.

After treatment

Frequent follow-up is required for malignant sinus tumors because of the high rate of developing secondary cancers in the head or neck.


Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery
Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery Offers Hope

Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA)
Pituitary Tumor Removal Using the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) at UPMC

The UPMC Pituitary Center
At the UPMC Pituitary Center, our experts use a collaborative approach to treat patients.

Find a Doctor

Browse UPMC doctors and medical professionals to find the care that's right for you. Customize your search by specialty, zip code, last name, and more.


Visit the UPMC Find a Doctor website.
Make an Appointment

Find important information on scheduling your appointment or finding a doctor or service that meets your needs.


Request an appointment now.
Find a Location

Browse addresses and contact information for our network of hospitals, specialty care practices, and community health locations.


Find a UPMC location near you.
Pay Your Bill

Learn more about how to pay your UPMC bill. Find resources including payment methods and contact information for assistance.


Pay your bill now.
Find a Career

Advance your career with UPMC. Discover our latest job listings and learn about our values and career pathways.


Find your ideal career at UPMC.