NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,804 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

paranasal sinus
(PAYR-uh-NAY-zul SY-nus)
One of many small hollow spaces in the bones around the nose. Paranasal sinuses are named after the bones that contain them: frontal (the lower forehead), maxillary (cheekbones), ethmoid (beside the upper nose), and sphenoid (behind the nose). The paranasal sinuses open into the nasal cavity (space inside the nose) and are lined with cells that make mucus to keep the nose from drying out during breathing.

EnlargeAnatomy of the paranasal sinuses; drawing shows front and side views of the frontal sinus, ethmoid sinus, maxillary sinus, and sphenoid sinus. The nasal cavity and pharynx (throat) are also shown.

Anatomy of the paranasal sinuses (spaces between the bones around the nose).