Issue Description The most common type of cancers affecting the
animal's nose are carcinomas and sarcomas, both of which are locally
invasive. The most common sites for metastasis are the lymph nodes and
the lungs, but can also include other organs. Other Names Nasal Cancer, Nose Cancer
Causes Nasal cancer has been chalked up to several
different carcinogens. Some of the most common airborne ones are in
pesticides, herbicides, kerosene, fossil fuel emissions (from gas and
diesel engines, industry and the like), and cigarette smoke.
Symptoms Signs vary but may include bleeding from the
nose, nasal discharge,facial deformity from bone erosion and tumor
growth, sneezing, or difficulty breathing, unilateral nasal and/or
ocular discharge, epistaxis, stridor, loss of smell, loose teeth and
sometimes pawing at the face.
Late-stage signs may include
a facial deformity along the dorsal aspect of the maxillary bones or
over the paranasal and frontal sinuses. Some cases develop a raised or
pitting facial bone deformity.
Some cases may exhibit a
firm or soft focal, raised mass protruding around or between the eyes.
Some cases may have a palatine deformity from the softening and bowing
out of the hard palate due to demineralization of the palatine bone
and growth of the mass.
In every case of facial deformity,
there is bone lysis and tumor invasion at that site. If the lesions
extend into the brain, seizures and behavior changes are often
Diagnosis Standard X-rays are still acceptable and
readily accessible imaging tools but their resolution and level of
anatomical detail are not as good as for computed tomography (CT)
scan. In order to definitively confirm cancer in the nasal cavity, a
tissue biopsy should be obtained.
Treatment Radiation therapy has become the preferred
treatment. Its advantage is that it treats the entire nasal cavity
together with the affected bone and has shown the greatest improvement
in survival. The radiation therapy is typically delivered in 10-18
treatment sessions over the course of 2-4 weeks.
Prognosis The prognosis is generally grave to very poor.
Untreated dogs and cats usually die within two to seven months of
diagnosis. If rhinotomy is the only treatment, survival is actually
shorter. In selected cases that receive radiation therapy (plus or
minus adjuvant therapy), survival can be raised to a range of eight to
25 months. The one-year treatment survival may be 40 percent and can
go up to 80 percent in select cases. Half of the one-year survivors
die in the second year. Palliative chemotherapy may improve clinical
signs for a time but does not seem to extend survival.
good case for radiation therapy is, sarcomas do better than carcinomas
and respiratory adenocarcinomas do better than other carcinomas. Tumor
size and location are also factors. Localized lesions in the rostral
to middle part of the nasal passage do better; most are in the caudal
two-thirds of the nasal passage. Lymphomas respond the best and
low-grade chondrosarcomas have the potential to survive the longest.
Radiation therapy for nasal passage cancer is a difficult process for
the patient and caregivers. The risk-benefit ratio must be weighed
carefully in each case.