Esthesioneuroblastoma

1 What is Esthesioneuroblastoma?

Esthesioneuroblastoma also known as olfactory neuroblastoma is a rare form of cancer that affects the nasal cavity.

It can sometimes lead to loss of vision and taste. It usually begins in the olfactory nerve , the part of the brain that interprets smell.

It can happen to all age groups although it occurs mostly people above 40 .

Individuals affected can experience frequent nosebleeds and difficulty braething through the nose.

The treatments for esthesioneuroblastoma include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

2 Symptoms

This tumor grows slowly so the initially symptoms of esthesioneuroblastoma are not so obvious.

The average time gap between the first symptoms and diagnosis is 6 months.

The most common symptom that is seen in esthesioneuroblastoma is nasal obstruction on one side. This is usually followed by nosebleeds (epistaxis). Later there changes in the sense of smell or even loss of smell can be experienced.

Other symptoms include: ulcers in the mouth, loss of teeth, nausea ,headaches, pain on the face and changes in vision or even blindness.

3 Causes

The main cause of Esthesioneuroblastoma is not known.

Several area where this tumor is suspected to arise from include:

  • The olfactory epithelium (in most cases)
  • Autonomic ganglion of the nasal mucosa
  • Spheno palatine gandlion

There is a high possibility that several factors give rise to Esthesioneuroblastoma.

These include:

  • Genetics
  • Pollution of the environment
  • Cigarette smoking

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of esthesioneuroblastoma includes:

  • Endoscopic examination where an endoscope (a tube with a camera at one end) is inserted through the nose or mouth to check for signs of a tumor.
  • A sample of the tissue (biopsy) is taken to be examined in the lab.
  • A CT scan and an MRI can show the exaxt location and size of the tumor.

5 Treatment

Esthesioneuroblastoma can be treated using surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy or a combination of surgery and radiation therapy.

In surgery,the tumor is removed and thisis usually followed up by radiation therapy which helps in preventing the tumor from growing back.

Radiation thearpy can be used in isolation or can be combined with chemotherapy to provide better results if the tumor is in it,s last stages since surgery is usually not effective at this point.

Chemotherapy is used to reduce the size of an inoperable tumor.

6 Risks and Complications

The common complications of esthesioneuroblastoma include:

  • recurrence of tumors,
  • metastasis (spreading of the tumor to other parts of the body).
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