Polyps are a bunch of similar looking growths or masses that grow inside the body. There are two common types of polyps: The first one has a stalk – dangles down from a stalk and the second one is flat. Majority of the polyps are benign and therefore, can’t turn into cancer. But, some polyps may become cancerous depending on their position, age, causative factors and location.
The nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses sometimes develop abnormal growth – though the growth is non-malignant or non-cancerous (benign), yet capable of causing problems – Nasal polyps are one such growth and papillomas are the other type. Nasal polyps appear smooth and looks like teardrops or grapes like.
Nasal polyps can grow on one side or both the sides of the nose. The growth can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), which may be present at birth or develop later in life.
Nasal polyps cause the following problems
Nasal polyps may develop when the nose remain swollen from inside for long or when it is inflamed or irritated. Though they are not something scary to be worried about, yet they may disturb the proper functioning of the nose and may lead to headache, runny nose, nose bleeds, variations in taste and smell and also snoring. Nasal polyps may grow big and cause breathing difficulty and infections.
Do They Develop into Cancer?
They are mostly present inside the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Doctors carefully examine such growths and keenly watch their progress to ensure that they are not developing into cancer. Head and neck surgeons and ENT specialists can easily differentiate nasal polyps from nasal cancers by careful physical and medical examinations and also by ordering certain tests. Some individuals may develop nasal polyps without being suffering from any sort of problems. In such cases, such polyps may not be treated. However, ENT surgeons treat larger problematic polyps with surgery or medicine.
It is rarely though to find any abnormal benign or malignant tumour to develop from the inside of the nose – however, the tumours from the neighbouring structures may extend into the nose (Nasal Tumours). In adolescent and pre-pubescent males a specific type of benign tumour called Juvenile Nasopharyngeal Angiofibroma (JNA) is common. It is one of the causes of recurrent nose bleeding.
Diagnosis and Treatment
An ENT specialist may suspect the growth of polyps in a patient based on the symptoms and medical examination. He or she may use a special instrument to see deep inside the nose to make sure that the growths are nasal polyps.
Treatment: If the patient has an infection, then antibiotics or drugs may be prescribed by the doctor along with a nasal spray. If this type of treatment doesn’t yield results, then the doctor may endoscopically remove such polyps. However, the treatment may depend on the severity of the growth. Therefore, for severe cases, the surgeon may perform more involved surgery.
Polyps also grow in the ear canal or middle ear like bunch or clumps of grapes. They appear red and easily bleed when touched. Initially when they grow and become noticeable, one should seek medical help and approach an ENT specialist. The specialist after proper medical examination may tell whether they grew on their own or formed due to any other medical condition or infection. It is therefore better to see a specialist as aural polyps may sometimes turn cancerous.
Aural Polyps: Diagnosis and Treatment
ENT specialist closely look and examine the aural polyps to know whether they are caused by any medical condition or infection. If they are due to an infection, then antibiotics may be prescribed to remove them. Even after giving antibiotics to the patient, if they do not go away, then the doctor may remove a small piece of the polyp to look it under a microscope. The purpose is to know whether they are cancerous. In addition, if they persist after treatment, then surgical intervention may be required to remove them completely.