Cancer is an umbrella term for a wide range of diseases that form from abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue.
Cancer often has the ability to spread throughout your body and treatment outcomes depend on how far the cancer has spread so it is important to recognise the early warning signs.
One lesser-known area where symptoms can show up is the nose and if you experience symptoms here you may have nasal and sinus cancer.
According to the NHS, nasal and sinus cancer affects the nasal cavity (the space behind your nose) and the sinuses (small air-filled cavities inside your nose, cheekbones and forehead).
It’s a rare type of cancer that most often affects men aged over 40.
Nasal and sinus cancer is different from cancer of the area where the nose and throat connect.
As the NHS explains, these symptoms can be similar to more common and less serious conditions, such as a cold or sinusitis.
It is still important to see a GP if you notice any unusual or persistent symptoms associated with your nose, however.
“It’s very unlikely they’ll be caused by nasal or sinus cancer, but it’s worth getting them checked out,” advises the NHS.
The exact causes of nasal and sinus cancer are not known but certain risk factors can increase the chances of developing it.
Smoking is one of the primary risk factors associated with nasal and sinus cancer, as Cancer Research UK explains: “Cigarettes contain nitrosamines and other chemicals that cause cancer. When you smoke, the smoke may pass through your nasal cavity on its way to your lungs.”
In fact, your risk increases the longer you smoke, and if you smoke a lot, your risk increases even more, warns the charity.
“Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and will reduce the risk of developing cancer,” advises the health body.