Survival for nasal and paranasal cancer

Survival depends on different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live.

Doctors usually work out the outlook for a certain disease by looking at large groups of people. Because this cancer is less common, survival is harder to estimate than for other, more common cancers.

Some of the statistics have to be based on a small number of people. Remember, they can't tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

You can also talk about this to the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival by stage

There are no UK wide statistics available for nasal and paranasal sinus cancer survival by stage.

The statistics below come from America. They come from the National Cancer Institute's SEER programme. They are for people diagnosed with nasal and paranasal sinus cancer between 2010 and 2016. 

Please be aware that these figures might not be a true picture of survival in the UK. This is due to differences in American health care systems, data collection and the population. 

The American statistics are split into 3 stage groups – localised, regional and distant cancers. In the UK, your doctor might not use these terms. Instead, they might describe your cancer as a number stage (stage 1 to 4). The following descriptions are a guide to help you understand whether your cancer is localised, regional or distant. This isn’t straight forward and will depend on your individual situation. Talk to your specialist  if you are unsure which group you are in.

There are 3 groups:

  • Localised cancers haven’t spread into nearby lymph nodes 
  • Regional cancers have spread into nearby lymph nodes or have advanced local spread into nearby structures (for example T4 tumours) 
  • Distant cancers have spread to other parts of the body, away from the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus

The statistics cover both nasal and paranasal sinus cancers.

Localised

More than 80 out of 100 people (more than 80%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Regional

More than 50 out of 100 people (more than 50%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Distant

Almost 45 out of 100 people (almost 45%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Survival for all stages of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

There are no UK wide statistics for nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer survival.

The following statistics are from a large European study that looked at survival in rare cancers. It looked at people diagnosed between 2000 and 2002.

For people diagnosed with nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer in the UK and Ireland:

  • more than 70 out of 100 people (more than 70%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
  • around 50 out of 100 people (50%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed

What affects survival

Your outcome depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.

The type of cancer can also affect your likely survival. And your outlook also depends on which parts of the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses are involved.

Your general health and fitness also affect survival. The fitter you are, the better you may be able to cope with your cancer and treatment.

About these statistics

The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and researchers collect information. They watch what happens to people with cancer in the years after their diagnosis. 5 years is a common time point to measure survival. But some people live much longer than this.

5 year survival is the number of people who have not died from their cancer within 5 years after diagnosis.

Last reviewed: 
01 Sep 2021
Next review due: 
02 Sep 2024
  • Survival rates for nasal cavity and paranasal cancer 
     American Cancer Society website, accessed June 2021. 

  • Rare cancers of the head and neck area in Europe
    BA Van Dijk and others
    European Journal of Cancer. 2012 April;48(6):783-96.

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