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Questions To Ask About Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancers

It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your doctor and cancer care team. They want to answer all of your questions, so that you can make informed treatment decisions. For instance, consider these questions:

When you’re told you have nasal cavity (nose) or paranasal sinus cancer

  • Where is my cancer located?
  • What kind of nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer do I have?
  • If I’m concerned about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond where it started?
  • What is the stage (extent) of my cancer, and what does that mean?
  • Will I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Will I need to see other doctors or specialists?

When deciding on a treatment plan for nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer

  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • If surgery is part of my treatment, what kind are you recommending? Will I need reconstruction surgery also? What options for reconstruction do I have?
  • Will surgery make it hard for me to eat, talk, or see?
  • What is the goal of the treatment?
  • What are the chances that I  can be cured of this cancer with these treatment options?
  • How fast do I need to decide on treatment?
  • What can I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will be done?
  • Where will I get treatment ?
  • Will treatment affect my daily activities? Can I still work fulltime?
  • What risks or side effects are there to the treatments you suggest? How long will they last?
  • What can I do to prevent or reduce the side effects?
  • Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that? Can you recommend someone?
  • Will this treatment change the way I look?
  • What other choices will I have if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back (recurs) after treatment?
  • What if I have problems getting to and from treatment?
  • Do you know of any clinical trials I might be eligible for?

During treatment for nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer

Once treatment begins, you’ll need to know what to expect and what to look for. Not all of these questions may apply to you, but asking the ones that do may be helpful.

  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • Is there anything I can do to help manage side effects?
  • What symptoms or side effects should I tell you about right away?
  • How can I reach you on nights, holidays, or weekends?
  • Do I need to change what I eat during treatment?
  • Are there any limits on what I can do or what I can eat?
  • Can I exercise during treatment? If so, what kind should I do, and how often?
  • Can you suggest a mental health professional if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, or distressed?
  • What social support is available during treatment if my family is far away?

After treatment for nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer

  • Will I need a special diet after treatment?
  • Will I need to see a specialist to evaluate how I speak and swallow ?
  • Are there any limits on what I can do?
  • What symptoms should I watch for?
  • What kind of exercise should I do now?
  • How often will I need to have follow-up exams and imaging tests?
  • When should my next tests be done?
  • Will I need any blood tests?
  • How will we know if the cancer has come back? What should I watch for?
  • What will my options be if the cancer comes back?

Along with these examples, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want more information about recovery times so you can plan your work or activity schedule.

Keep in mind that doctors aren’t the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, can answer some of your questions. To find out more about speaking with your health care team, see The Doctor-Patient Relationship.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Revised: April 19, 2021

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