Chronic Sinusitis and Cancer

A close-up of a nurse touching the hand of a patient, who may have cancer related to chronic sinusitis.

Can your chronic sinusitis lead to rare cancers?

What happens when you do not treat your chronic sinusitis? The quality of your health suffers. Every day, researchers are discovering how prolonged infection can lead to dangerous diseases. In fact, a recent study has looked into the link between the disorder and rare cancers.

What is Chronic Sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis is a condition that affects the sinuses. It can be caused by an infection or nasal obstruction. When infection occurs, the sinuses become inflamed and mucus does not drain properly. The can lead debilitating sinus systems like headaches, facial pain, and poor sleep.

Sinusitis becomes chronic when your condition lasts for more the 12 weeks. At this point, medications or home remedies are not enough to subside your symptoms. A surgical option is needed to help you find relief.

The Connection to Head and Neck Cancer

Researchers do not know too much about the link between chronic sinusitis and head and neck cancers. This is why scientists at the National Cancer Institute found it necessary to do more extensive research, and discover if people with the disorder were at risk for rare cancers. The scientists hoped to find the answer by testing elderly patients with the condition.

The study focused on three cancers: nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC), human papillomavirus-related oropharyngeal cancer (HPV-OPC), and nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer (NCPSC). Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Medicare database and other resources, the scientists were able to find people who developed cancer over the years.

Their findings suggest interesting results. The authors state, “Despite the fact that people with chronic sinusitis have an increased risk for certain subtypes of HNCs, the absolute risk of these cancers is low. The cumulative incidence of NPC, HPV-OPC, and NCPSC was less than 0.10 percent after 8 years of follow-up after a chronic sinusitis diagnosis. There are currently no general U.S. guidelines for HNC screening, but given the low absolute risk, our findings do not support a need for HNC screening in individuals with chronic sinusitis.”

Thankfully, the results proved that patients with this disorder are at low risk. However, chronic sinusitis can still negatively impact your quality of life. That is why we suggest you ask your doctors about balloon sinuplasty, a procedure that will help you find relief fast.

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