Can A Nasal Polyp Be Cancerous?

Nasal Polyp Causes

Small, soft growths called nasal polyps develop in the sinus or nasal walls. They may result in severe symptoms like headaches, facial discomfort and congestion. However, a common concern with nasal polyps is cancer risk. This blog post will address this concern and provide information to help you understand these growths better.  

What Are Nasal Polyps?

Nasal polyps are tiny lumps or bumps from the sinus lining and cavities. They have a spherical shape and may be responsible for different symptoms. While they are not life-threatening, they can produce shocking results in a person’s condition besides treatment.

Common Symptoms of Nasal Polyps

  • Stuffy nose or congestion: This is usually the most severe symptom, and the nose could be constantly blocked, or the symptoms could be more acute on one side of your nose.
  • Runny nose with clear discharge: Unlike colds and allergies, which have thick, nasty mucus and primarily yellow or green mucus, polypoid nasal leads to watery and clear mucus.
  • Postnasal drip: That annoying mucus feeling goes down your throat, and you mostly clear your throat all the time.
  • Reduced sense of smell or taste: When the polyps in your nose become larger and stretch your nasal passageways, you cannot smell or taste well.
  • Facial pressure or pain: You can experience the pressure and pain around the eyelids, forehead, and cheekbones as the bone the swollen tissues are pushing onto emerges.
  • Headaches: Another symptom of nasal polyps may be frequent headaches caused by sinus congestion.
  • Difficulty sleeping: Nasal stuffiness and postnasal drip can disrupt standard sleep patterns and make perceiving night breathing uncomfortable.

Nasal Polyp Causes

  • Allergies: Dangerous stimulants, such as dust particles, can inflame the nasal passages. This potentially generates when this inflammation relates to polyp development.
  • Sinus Infections: Having sinusitis can damage the sinus lining, leading to swelling or growths known as polyps.
  • Cystic Fibrosis: This genetic condition can cause the sinuses and airways to become less mucus-filled. Congestion may result from the buildup of thick mucus brought on by nasal gland obstruction. If this mucus isn’t cleared out correctly, it may lead to inflammation and the development of polyps.

Cancer Risk in Nasal Polyps

While nasal polyps growths are usually harmless, there’s a natural concern about potential cancer risk. 

  • Difference Between Benign and Malignant Polyps

Most nasal polyps are benign hence, they are unlikely to spread to other bodily parts and are not malignant. As they steadily expand, they produce symptoms such as face pressure, congestion and diminished sense of smell.

On the other hand, malignant polyps are cancerous. These are exceptionally rare in the nasal cavity. However, a specific type of polyp called inverted papilloma can sometimes exhibit concerning behaviour. These polyps grow inward towards the bone and may recur after removal. In rare instances, they can transform into cancer.

  • Risk Factors for Cancerous Nasal Polyps

There are particular circumstances on the disability side of the nasal polyp which can influence the tumour’s occurrence. These include:

  1. Inverted papilloma: The growth occurs typically on the innermost side of the bone, where malignancy is extremely rare. Early recognition and removal of polyps is the first and premier step to conquer the disease.
  2. Age: Patients older than the age of 50 and people having cancer-affiliated nasal polyps are just put on long-term antibiotics and painkillers, but there is an increased risk of developing cancerous nasal polyps in older adults (50 years and above).
  3. Certain medical conditions: Though chemotherapy is the most common treatment method, a severe condition like Wegener’s granulomatosis, a blood vessel disease caused by the immune response of the body turning against itself, may lead to growths of cancerous lesions that appear in the nose and the sinuses.
  • The Connection Between Chronic Inflammation and Cancer Development

Chronic inflammation is a long-term discomfort or unrest in the body’s microcirculation. It may occur in the form of benign nasal polyps or cancer, but the relationship with cancer development is not clear. It can damage healthy cells over time, potentially increasing the risk of mutations that could lead to cancer.

Diagnosis and Screening

This section dives into the diagnostic procedures used to assess cancer risk and the importance of early detection.

  • Importance of Early Detection

Early-stage cancers are often smaller and haven’t spread to other body parts. This makes them easier to treat with therapies like surgery, radiation, or medication, leading to a much higher chance of a cure.

  • Diagnostic Procedures for Assessing Cancer Risk

Screening tests are a type of analysis done predictively. These are non‐invasive or minimally invasive tests used for early detection of the population connected to a particular type of cancer. Common examples include mammography and intestinal cancer through colonoscopy, where most individuals are diagnosed with breast cancer. While a screening test may not definitively prove that cancer is present, a diagnostic test is required to make necessary conclusions about the presence of cancer.

Diagnostic tests are detailed and specific tests conducted after determining or damaging a malignancy. The laboratory used biopsies (Flesh samples) standards, where the pathologists assessed the specimen using a microscope to measure diseases features. In addition, an ENT specialist in London uses modern pathological imaging techniques such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to examine tumours and other abnormal growths closely.

  • Role of Imaging Techniques and Biopsies

X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs give not only a perfect view of your body but also give us a view of organs and tissues respectively. These pictures quickly show cancer signs, tumours, and other tissue abnormalities. The imaging technique only helps in the diagnosis process.

A pathologist takes a tissue sample from an area when a biopsy is performed. Examine it closely under a microscope. By studying the cells, the pathologist can search for signs of cancer. 

Treatment Options

1. Medication

Nasal polyps treatment, such as medication and nasal sprays, helps reduce inflammation physiologically, decrease the formation of polyps, and relieve symptoms such as congestion and facial pressure. Short-term nasal polyps treatments may be given for more severe inflammation.

2. Surgery

If the therapy does not help or the polyp is too big, surgical intervention is the only possible option. The traditional approach mainly involves using tiny instruments inserted through the nostrils in an endoscopic manner to remove the polyps.

3. Maintaining Long-Term Relief

Even after successful treatment, polyps can recur. Therefore, it’s crucial to continue using nasal corticosteroids or other medications your doctor prescribes to manage inflammation and reduce the chances of recurrence.

Choose ENT LDN for Comprehensive Care

Are you looking to feel better about yourself? ENT LDN can help. With our specialized approach, you can count on us to work with you to achieve the desired outcomes—natural-looking results. Contact us today and prioritize natural results for successful surgery.


Frequently Asked Questions

Although nasal polyps are generally benign, they can cause pain. It's important to visit a healthcare professional for an assessment and treatment options if you have symptoms such as chronic congestion or face pressure.