Can long-term use of nose drops cause nose cancer?

Posted by tinea @tinea, Feb 16 4:12pm

Hello,

I broke my nose when I was 15 but never had surgery. Due to having troubles with breathing, I started using nose drops every day.

Sometimes I used them multiple times per day. A year ago, my nose started burning inside whenever I'd use nose drops, and I would also sneeze. It is why I somehow managed to stop using them, but it took me 13 years.

Still, my nose is not recovering. It is too red inside, and I have postnasal drip all the time. But a few days ago, I noticed, the right side of the nose bridge hurts me when I touch it. Honestly, I'm freaking out that I might have nose cancer due to using nose drops for years, and I'm afraid to go to a doctor. Is it possible that something else could be a cause?

Thanks.

Hope someone has some answers/guidance for you. If you broke your nose and did not have repair surgery, could it be that – all these years later, that the tenderness could be related to the break?
I read there are many types of nose drops…Saline the safest; steroids; antihistamines and seems "decongestants" can be hard on the delicate skin inside the nose…. could you put your fears aside and get a medical opinion?
Many years ago when I had symptoms of a type of cancer I was anxious to get an opinion , because if it actually was a tumour, I could get it treated sooner rather than latter… the sooner the better.
It's very easy for us to become dependent on all types of medications, nose sprays, etc….and you did well to stop using them, must have taken a lot of willpower, so perhaps you can again summon that willpower/courage again and go to a doctor? Best of luck to you. J.

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@tinea Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a place to give and get support.

You broke your nose over 13 years ago and you have had this issue since? That is a long time to have dealt with this issue. Did you ever go to see an ENT provider/doctor?

People on Connect cannot diagnose or give medical advice. Is sounds like you are saying is that your issue originates from trauma that was left untreated. I don't see evidence that points to cancer. Has anyone ever mentioned a deviated septum or nasal polyps to you before? The only way to adequately diagnose and treat your condition is to go to the doctor. It can be anxiety provoking to see a doctor, due to fear of a bad prognosis. The most likely outcome of going to the doctor is that you find a way to feel better.

I'd like to invite members @mrsworm12 @nrd1 @cdee @lmkarlov @steph14888 @johnhudson922 @menio @naney @lotsofpain @alaethia to the conversation. These members have recently discussed ENT issues and may be able to offer support.

Below I have also linked a couple of previous and somewhat related topics. You may wish to scroll through the past comments. There are many conversations that seem applicable. Have you had a chance to browse Connect conversations?
– Nasonex spray https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nasonex-spray/
– Nasal pain https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nasal-pain/

May I ask, is your reluctance to seek medical care due to anxiety or due to inadequate medical coverage as well?

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@erikas

@tinea Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, a place to give and get support.

You broke your nose over 13 years ago and you have had this issue since? That is a long time to have dealt with this issue. Did you ever go to see an ENT provider/doctor?

People on Connect cannot diagnose or give medical advice. Is sounds like you are saying is that your issue originates from trauma that was left untreated. I don't see evidence that points to cancer. Has anyone ever mentioned a deviated septum or nasal polyps to you before? The only way to adequately diagnose and treat your condition is to go to the doctor. It can be anxiety provoking to see a doctor, due to fear of a bad prognosis. The most likely outcome of going to the doctor is that you find a way to feel better.

I'd like to invite members @mrsworm12 @nrd1 @cdee @lmkarlov @steph14888 @johnhudson922 @menio @naney @lotsofpain @alaethia to the conversation. These members have recently discussed ENT issues and may be able to offer support.

Below I have also linked a couple of previous and somewhat related topics. You may wish to scroll through the past comments. There are many conversations that seem applicable. Have you had a chance to browse Connect conversations?
– Nasonex spray https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nasonex-spray/
– Nasal pain https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nasal-pain/

May I ask, is your reluctance to seek medical care due to anxiety or due to inadequate medical coverage as well?

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Hello Lucy and Erika,

Thank you for answering!

Yes, it could be the break that's causing what I feel. It's been so many years. I used so many different nose drops that I don't even know what types they were.

I did seek a medical opinion four years after my nose got broken. They told me that I have a deviated septum but that surgery isn't necessary because I have just enough space to breathe. Otherwise, I would have to pay a lot, which I couldn't afford as a teenager.

My fear is mostly due to anxiety, but at the moment, I'm also not insured. I browsed Connect conversations, but I'm not even sure what I'm looking for, so I thought I should try and ask.

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Hi tenea… I am in Canada and while our health system is not perfect, and where I live there is a shortage of doctors and I don't even have a family doctor (at age 77)… I have been fortunate that most medical costs are covered and I worked my adult life and when retired still was covered by the employee medical plan which also covers my spouse. He also worked but where he worked, the day he retired his employee medical costs stopped. How those with no additional medical insurance including dental costs are managing I have no idea.
You mention the variety of nose drops – well you did your best at the time… I am the same with dry eye over the counter eye drops. For the past may 15 to 20 years (and over the counter have to pay for myself) I think I tried every single one they sold, now for past few years buying ones with no preservative: but I still feel I am "putting chemicals in my eyes." Now I have Glaucoma its a much stronger drop every night and there is a medical information sheet that lists what the drops can cause… but to get back to your issues….. good advice from Erika sh is so helpful…. hope you find some more help/answers. J.

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@tinea

Hello Lucy and Erika,

Thank you for answering!

Yes, it could be the break that's causing what I feel. It's been so many years. I used so many different nose drops that I don't even know what types they were.

I did seek a medical opinion four years after my nose got broken. They told me that I have a deviated septum but that surgery isn't necessary because I have just enough space to breathe. Otherwise, I would have to pay a lot, which I couldn't afford as a teenager.

My fear is mostly due to anxiety, but at the moment, I'm also not insured. I browsed Connect conversations, but I'm not even sure what I'm looking for, so I thought I should try and ask.

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@tinea If you are experiencing pain a new provider may have a different opinion now. Would you consider going back and getting a second opinion?

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@lacy2

Hi tenea… I am in Canada and while our health system is not perfect, and where I live there is a shortage of doctors and I don't even have a family doctor (at age 77)… I have been fortunate that most medical costs are covered and I worked my adult life and when retired still was covered by the employee medical plan which also covers my spouse. He also worked but where he worked, the day he retired his employee medical costs stopped. How those with no additional medical insurance including dental costs are managing I have no idea.
You mention the variety of nose drops – well you did your best at the time… I am the same with dry eye over the counter eye drops. For the past may 15 to 20 years (and over the counter have to pay for myself) I think I tried every single one they sold, now for past few years buying ones with no preservative: but I still feel I am "putting chemicals in my eyes." Now I have Glaucoma its a much stronger drop every night and there is a medical information sheet that lists what the drops can cause… but to get back to your issues….. good advice from Erika sh is so helpful…. hope you find some more help/answers. J.

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I have severely dry eyes! I am to use eye drops several times a day. My specialist told me you cannot overdose by using to may eye drops! I was afraid just like you! He recommended Restasis! Perhaps that will make you feel better. I use nasal sprays every night so I can breathe–then some of them (Afrin for severe congestion) makes my nose burn like crazy some nights–it is the only one which helps me breathe. Then, it burns. That is what scares me but it is the only one which helps me breathe. A surgeon wants to operate on my severely deviated septum but I am not a spring chicken and I have had so many surgeries that I do not want any more. The back surgeons want to operate on my back but no, it scares me to even think about it! Perhaps you could go to an ENT and he will give you peace of mind. Prayers!

I have other problems. One of which is I have to pee (a lot) ever half hour every night! I get no sleep and I do not and cannot take naps.! I feel like a zombie.

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@wooie … me too (chronic dry eyes) and am sure some meds I took or still take are contributing. Well I still feel that ALL dry eye drops are made from "chemicals" and do not suit everyone the same. As I say I think I have tried every single one, except Restasis .. have to be careful as have Glaucoma. For past few months have been using one from Germany originally. It is around $60.00 Canadian but is in special dispenser and lasts six months with no preservative. It is called Hylo by Candor Vision and over the years they have brought out different "types." Available cheaper on Amazon. Have to pay for myself. But the dispenser! Inside its got a tiny bag like a baby bottle full of liquid and as used, the bag squeezes out air so no preservative necessary but its AWFUL to use as like a little hard icing bag and holding it over eyes and pushing the end in like a pump its very easy to poke the nozzle into the eye!!!! Also as no preservative MUST keep extra clean and cant wipe the end off etc. Its been very good but lately my eyes feel like they are sore under the lids…. I sometimes take a break with Systane Ultra but that makes my eyes feel sticky. Honestly, having this for so many years people don't realize how Chronic dry eyes can burn, sting etc. its not just from computer use or being in the wind is it? Also I read an article titled; DRY EYES AND GLAUCOMA…DOUBLE TROUBLE !! On top of everything else eh? J.

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@tinea Erika gave you some good advice I can only imagine how you feel I'm glad you stopped the nasal drops this may have been what has irritated your nose When your nose is swollen and it's hard to breath have you tried Vicks just put it under your nose this opens your nasal passages .I have sever dry eyes also My Dr recommended Restasis but they burn I found for myself I use only once as I have Glucoma and use it at night if I do both at night eyes really sore and burn ,I had to figure out what worked for me so use Restasis during day only In morning I use a eye wash before I start with drops this is my routine Everyone has to listen to your body to see what it will accept Dr,s can suggest and diagnose but you are your own advocate and know how you react . I use a allergy pill to contain my post nasal drip Humidifier for dry eyes and nose. Have you seen a ENT for your nose ?Tell him you can't breathe and it's a struggle I hope you make an appointment Wishes my you the best

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@lioness

@tinea Erika gave you some good advice I can only imagine how you feel I'm glad you stopped the nasal drops this may have been what has irritated your nose When your nose is swollen and it's hard to breath have you tried Vicks just put it under your nose this opens your nasal passages .I have sever dry eyes also My Dr recommended Restasis but they burn I found for myself I use only once as I have Glucoma and use it at night if I do both at night eyes really sore and burn ,I had to figure out what worked for me so use Restasis during day only In morning I use a eye wash before I start with drops this is my routine Everyone has to listen to your body to see what it will accept Dr,s can suggest and diagnose but you are your own advocate and know how you react . I use a allergy pill to contain my post nasal drip Humidifier for dry eyes and nose. Have you seen a ENT for your nose ?Tell him you can't breathe and it's a struggle I hope you make an appointment Wishes my you the best

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@lioness hello i have chronic dry eyes for years and narrow angle glaucoma and am at a loss, plus laundry list of other issues…today had another ocular migaine.. had them since a child and now 77… had to cancel 2 appointments.. i get the small blind spot which turns into bright moving zigzags in vision for about half hour then it goes and I used to get terrific one side of headaches but last 20 years not. I was interested in the Restatis – cycclosporin….. but different web sites have different info. But I just found a good website that links dry eyes with migraines and tmj and some other health problems I have… honestly, I print these pages off but am now swamped with paperwork and getting nowhere. Is it worth burning eyes to get relief from dry eye syptoms?

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@lac2 Thats why I only do Restasis only once instead of following Dr direction At night I put Latanoprest in eyes for Glucoma This was my decision but ask your Dr about only doing once. I found when my eyes feel dry at night a little cool water on the eyes help me During day I use the drops when needed I'm a retired nurse and don't like taking a lot of chemicals but you can tell your Dr about the burn in eyes and see what she says This is just what I do myself I'm not advocating this for others ,just me Good luck I,ll be interested in knowing what Dr says

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@tinea-(in response to original thread question)…
I’m sure this sensation is very frustrating. I wouldn’t go to the worst case scenario when you sense pain. Sometimes that thought or reaction can make it worse.
So to calm some of your anxiety, know that the nose is a very sensitive place. It’s senses and protects you from so many things. Many times a sneeze is just a signal of irritation. The nasal mucosa (skin that lines your nasal cavity and sinuses) is very delicate. It also changes over time as does our regular external skin. A possibility is that overtime your nasal mucosa has grown irritated of the nasal drops. It is a natural appearance for the nasal mucosa to be red when it is irritated. This also happens to people in winter, who experience dryness to the mucosa. It gets red, irritated and causes a lot of sneezing for people. Overtime the nose goes through mucosal changes, new allergies, and possible changes to structure as we go through life.
I would say what you are expressing/ feeling is something very common for a doctor to hear and a simple check up (reassurance) might ease your anxiety. I would encourage you to not be afraid to seek a checkup from your PCP.
PCPs understand that they are often the first stop to help/ease very minor things as well as people who are concerned and anxious.

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@lioness

@lac2 Thats why I only do Restasis only once instead of following Dr direction At night I put Latanoprest in eyes for Glucoma This was my decision but ask your Dr about only doing once. I found when my eyes feel dry at night a little cool water on the eyes help me During day I use the drops when needed I'm a retired nurse and don't like taking a lot of chemicals but you can tell your Dr about the burn in eyes and see what she says This is just what I do myself I'm not advocating this for others ,just me Good luck I,ll be interested in knowing what Dr says

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@lioness thanks for the inside information! Adult daughter over for half hour covid visit, she started dry eyes last year and is suffering a lot. I remembered I bought a tube of ointment for eyes unopened so she will try that tonight. That its so cold here in winter and windows shut 5 months doesnt help; now when i wake up at 4am i open window and inch and shut bedroom door…well, doubt if having affect on eyes but nice to breath in fresh air – I have an electric blanket over my mattress and that has helped my old bones a lot! I havent had a family dr for over a year and go to a walkin clinic but have an optometrist . I dont know about you lioness but when my eyes are at their dryest and sorest it makes my whole body hurt! I too use Latanaprost but it is the type without preservatives called Monoprost, was prescription so hardly any cost to me, single dose, for Glaucoma. The dry eye drops Hylo I pay myself but stuck in with Covid and not being well to go out am hardly spending money on anything else! Had migraine today and fell onto a site linking: migraines; dry eyes; fibro; tmj; ibs and back pain – but not solution ! I am going to do some research on the drops you are using later thanks. J. Oh now other daughter has Tinnitus like me and they say things are not hereditary! J.

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