Nasal polyps are the outgrowth in the mucous membrane due to prolonged inflammation. Most people suffering from nasal polyps have either allergy or asthma. Nasal polyps cause discomfort to patients and in most cases, especially in a large-sized nasal polyp, medical intervention is required. Untreated nasal polyps may cause serious complications in patients and rarely may result in life-threatening complications. The relation between nasal polyp and cancer is studied in great detail and it has been unanimously found that nasal polyps are completely benign, and they are not the cancerous growth. Nasal polyps do not even increase the risk of nasal cancer. Some other nasal cancers look like polyps and experienced doctor is to be consulted so as to get accurate diagnosis between nasal cancer and true polyp.
Can Nasal Polyps Be Cancerous?
Nasal polyps are the noncancerous growth in the lining of the nasal cavity. They may be caused as a result of inflammation or an allergy and maybe shrunk or removed through medications or surgery. Unlike colon polyps, which have a high risk of developing into cancer, nasal polyps are non-cancerous and do not carry the risk of developing into cancer3.
There are various other growths which look like polyps but actually are cancer or carry the risk of converting into cancer. Papilloma grows inside the nasal cavity in the form of warts4. They are not as such cancerous but sometimes may convert into squamous cell carcinoma. Because of such risk, the nasal papilloma is almost always removed through surgery.
It is to be noted that certain cancers have the growth that looks like a polyp. Thus, if the patient feels that he suffers from a nasal polyp, he should consult with an experienced nasal specialist to accurately diagnose the condition. Delay in diagnosis and treatment of any type of cancer may impact the survival rate. If the doctor is not able to make out a conclusion, biopsy of the growing tissue is recommended.
What Are The Complications Of Nose Polyps?
Small nasal polyps do not cause discomfort to the patient as they lack any symptoms. Such nasal polyps do not require treatment. However, the middle and large-sized nasal polyps do require treatment. The middle-sized nasal polyps can be managed by medications such as corticosteroid nasal spray or corticosteroid oral formulations, however more serious nasal polyps are managed by injectable corticosteroids. Surgery is required when the symptoms of nasal polyps are not managed by the medications and the symptoms are severe. Untreated or poorly managed nasal polyps may lead to various complications:
Chronic Sinusitis1. Nasal polyps block the passage and flow of mucus in the sinus cavity leading to infection. In the patient with an untreated sinus infection, antibiotics may help manage the symptoms but as soon as antibiotics are discontinued, the infection recurs.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea1. Obstructive sleep apnea is the condition in which the patient experiences breathing difficulties while sleeping. Due to the presence of nasal polyps, the patient may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
Visual Disturbances1. Visual disturbances are generally seen in those patients who have fungal infections in the sinus cavity. There is infection surrounding the eyes commonly known as orbital cellulitis. The patient may experience double vision.
Neurological Disorders2. In chronic infection, risk of neurological disorders increases due to the near-vicinity of brain and sinus. Patient with untreated nasal polyps may develop meningitis as the infection reaches the brain and spinal cord.
Nasal Bone Infection2. Untreated nasal polyps may also result in nasal bone infection. The condition of infection in nasal bone is called osteitis.
Thus, if the patient experiences severe discomfort because of nasal polyps he should immediately consult with the healthcare professional.
True nasal polyps are non-cancerous. Nasal growth, such as papilloma has the potential to develop into cancer. Various nasal growth with the potential to become cancerous looks like nasal polyps. Thus, it is important to differentiate between both the nasal growths.
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