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Can nasal polyps turn into cancer?

Alen N. Cohen, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Polyps are unlikely to be pre-cancerous, but there’s a chance they can be. In this video, sinus surgeon Alen Cohen, MD, FACS, of West Hills Hospital, describes the type of nasal and sinus polyp that is pre-cancerous.
Christopher M. Garvey, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Nasal polyps are benign, non-cancerous inflammatory growths. They develop from the lining of your nose and sinuses in response to an inflammatory reaction, usually environmental allergies such as hay fever. Nasal cancer is rare. True nasal polyps do not turn into cancer, but cancers of the nose and sinuses can at times have an appearance similar to a polyp.
Brian J. Broker, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Nasal polyps are different than colon polyps. Colon polyps can be cancerous or pre-cancerous while nasal polyps are always benign. However, in unusual cases, certain cancers can form in the nose that look like polyps to the untrained eye. 

Nasal papillomas, which typically look different than polyps, have a 13% chance of becoming cancers. These are typically removed to be sure.

There are other unusual nasal cancers that can mimic polyps. Its important to see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor for any nasal polyps to determine if a biopsy is needed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.