With recent news of our beloved Malaysian badminton champion and legend, Datuk Lee Chong Wei receiving treatment for Cancer of the Nasal cavity (aka) Paranasal Sinus cancer, I’ve come to realize that we Malaysians might not know much or heck, even heard about nose cancer before this event. After doing some research, I’m here to answer any questions for you curious cats out there about nose cancer.
1. Types of nose cancer
For starters, there are 2 types of tumors- Cancerous (Malignant) and non-cancerous (Benign).
For the latter, there are 3 types of known tumors in these areas, which are Polyps, Pailomas, and growths of small blood vessels, known as Angiofibromas and Gaemangiomas. Palilomas are wart-like growths of that are not cancerous. So if your doctors tell you that you have these, that’s good news!
Now for that terrible big C, they go with the name below :-
Squamous Epithelial which cells can turn into something sinister, Squamous Cell Carinomas. This type of cancer is actually the most common cancer out of the Nasal cavity.
Minor salivary glad cells can turn into Adenocarcinomas, Adenoid Cystic Carcinomas and Mucoepidermoid cancers. These cancers are quite common.
Undifferentiated Carcinoma is a fast growing cancer in which the cells look so abnormal that its hard to tell what type of cell the cancer started in.
Cells that make skin turn have its tan or brown colour are called melanocytes, Melanoma is a cancer that starts within those cells.
Esthesioneuroblastoma is a cancer that starts in the nerve for the sense of smell, known as the olfactory nerve.
Lymphomas which are cancers which start in the immune system cells called lymphocytes, can occur in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinues as well.
Sarcomas is the cancer of the bone, muscle, cartilage and fibrous cells that can start from anywhere in the body, including the nasal cavity and paranasal sinues.
Phew, now that we know the types of nose cancer with its scientific names out of the way, let’s move on to the next question!
2. Who does it affect?
Oddly, nose cancer affects mainly male as 4/5 patients diagnosed with the cancer is shown to be male and it seems that age plays a part as well since most of the patients were also at least 55 years old or older. But fret not, as this disease is quite rare, only affecting 2,000 patients each year in the US, out of a population of 325.7 Million.
3. Survival rate
What is the chance of survival if you’re affected with Nasal cancer or Paranasal sinus cancer?
For stage I and stage II of Nasal or Paranasal cancer, your survival rate is quite high, being placed at over 60% while the survival rate for stage III is 50% which stage IV’s survival rate drops down to 35%
4. Symptoms, and how can we avoid it
With this in mind, what would the symptoms be? Since prevention is better than cure right? Well….While there is definite way you can prevent cancer as there are various factors that causes it. Here are the symptoms to look out for :
- Nasal congestion and stuffiness that doesn’t get better or worse
- Pain above or below the eyes
- Blockage of one side of the nose
- Post nasal drip (that feeling of dripping at the back of your throat)
- Pus draining from nose
- Decreased or loss of smell
- Numbness or pain in parts of face
- Loosening or numbness of teeth
- Growth or mass of the face, nose or palate
- Watery eyes
- Bulging of one eye
- Loss or change in vision
- Pain or pressure in one of the ears
- Hearing loss
- Trouble opening mouth
- Enlarging lymph nodes in the neck (you can feel these bumps at the back of your neck)
Knowing of all this, one way you can reduce your risk is to work in a cleaner environment that is dust free. Workplace safety measures also help reduce the risk of cancer, while smoking would however increase the risk of Nasal cavity or Paranasal sinus cancer.
5. What can you do if you’re affected
The treatment process for Nasal cavity or Paranasal sinus cancer includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or Palliative treatment.
Finally, it is not recommended to take a regular check up as it is hard to detect the cancer in its early stages because the initial symptoms do not cause pain or discomfort. But a screening once in a while wouldn’t hurt right?
It’s really hard to imagine what Datuk Lee Chong Wei and family must be going through right now, and we from Sevenpie would like to offer our support and prayers to him and his family.
Keep up the good fight, Datuk!
Header image source from here.