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The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on November 05, 2020.

About sinus cancer

Sinus cancer occurs in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus. Cancer that occurs in the sinus is categorized as a head and neck cancer. The paranasal sinus and nasal cavity consists of a variety of cells. Cancer occurs when malignant (cancerous) cells form. The most common type of cancer detected in the paranasal sinus and nasal cavity is squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous is the most common cell type in the head and neck.

Around 2,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with sinus cancer each year. Of those cancers:

  • 50 percent originate from the maxillary sinus
  • 30 percent originate from the nasal cavity
  • 10 percent originate from the ethmoid sinus
  • 10 percent originate from other sinuses, like frontal sinuses and sphenoid sinuses
  • The most common sinus cancer type is squamous cell carcinoma, likely because squamous cell is the most common cell type in the head and neck.

Sinus cancer is diagnosed more often in men than in women. Age is a common factor—nearly four out of five patients diagnosed with sinus cancer are 55 or older.

Next topic: What are the risk factors for sinus cancer?