Nasal mucosal melanoma is a cancer that develops in the mucus-producing cells inside the nasal cavity. Symptoms include nosebleeds and nasal congestion. Treatment involves surgery, radiotherapy, and sometimes chemotherapy.
Nasal mucosal melanoma is a very rare cancer. For every 100,000 people, between
This article discusses nasal mucosal melanoma symptoms, stages, and risk factors. It also outlines the diagnosis, treatment, and outlook for this type of cancer.
The following pictures show what nasal mucosal melanoma can look like.
In the early stages, nasal mucosal melanoma does not cause symptoms.
According to a
As the condition develops, the tumors take up increasingly more space in the face and head, potentially causing the following symptoms:
- a frontal headache
- facial pain
- a runny nose
- hyposmia, a decreased ability to smell
- proptosis, a protruding eye
- double vision
- watery eyes
If the cancer spreads to distant organs, additional symptoms may occur, depending on where the cancer has spread.
As nasal mucosal melanoma is a form of melanoma, doctors will use a specific method for staging, known as the 7th edition AJCC staging system. This system takes into account the following three parameters:
|T1||less than or equal to 1 millimeter (mm)|
|T4||greater than 4 mm|
|N||Number of places the cancer has spread (metastatic lymph nodes)|
|N3||at least 4|
|M||Site of distant cancer spread (distant metastases)|
|M0||no distant metastases|
|M1a||distant skin or lymph node metastases|
|M1c||metastases to any organ in large cavities of the body (viscera)|
Using this information, the stages of nasal mucosal melanoma look like this:
|1a||T1 with ulceration||N0||M0|
|1b||T1b without ulceration||N0||M0|
|T2 with ulceration||N0||M0|
|2a||T2b without ulceration||N0||M0|
|T3 with ulceration||N0||M0|
|2b||T3 without ulceration||N0||M0|
|T4 with ulceration||N0||M0|
|2c||T4b without ulceration||N0||M0|
|3||any T||any greater than N0||M0|
|4||any T||any N||M1|
A person may have a
- are white
- are male
- are 60 years or older
- have experienced workplace exposure to formaldehyde
To diagnose nasal mucosal melanoma, doctors perform a biopsy of irregular-looking tissue. They will then use immunohistochemistry to determine if the tissue is cancerous.
Immunohistochemistry is a special laboratory technique. In response to the presence of mucosal melanoma cells, the body produces cells known as antibodies. These antibodies bind to the melanoma cells to harm them. Immunohistochemistry detects and analyzes the specific bindings between melanoma cells and antibodies.
Since nasal mucosal melanoma is a
If surgery and radiation are not effective, doctors may turn to chemotherapy.
There is currently no evidence of immunotherapy’s efficacy for nasal mucosal melanoma.
In general, the outlook for nasal mucosal melanoma is unfavorable. This is largely due to this type of cancer not being diagnosed until late-stage symptoms are present.
Is it curable?
A combination of surgery and radiation
Can it be benign?
Nasal mucosal melanoma is not a benign condition. It is a serious and life threatening form of cancer.
There is no evidence that nasal mucosal melanoma is a preventable disease.
Experts do not know the exact causes of this type of cancer. While there are known risk factors, most are impossible to modify.
Getting a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. It may help to turn to others for support, such as friends and family.
In addition, the nonprofit organization Melanoma Focus offers resources for people with nasal mucosal melanoma. This includes information about the condition, a free helpline, and treatment guidance.
Melanoma Focus also organizes a conference for people with this type of cancer.
Nasal mucosal melanoma is a form of cancer that develops in the mucus-producing cells of the nose. Being white, male, and older than 60 are risk factors for this condition. Symptoms include nosebleeds and nasal congestion.
As the condition develops, it may cause headaches, watery eyes, and double vision.
Biopsies and scans are necessary for diagnosing and staging nasal mucosal melanoma. The condition has a low survival rate. However, the main treatment option is surgery. Some people may also receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy.