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Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

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Treatments for stage I ethmoid sinus cancer

The following are treatment options for stage I ethmoid sinus cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan. You may be offered one or more of the following treatments.


Surgery is a main treatment for stage I ethmoid sinus cancer. The type of surgery done will depend on the size of the tumour and how far it has grown into nearby bone.

Endoscopic surgery uses a rigid instrument with a light and a lens (called an endoscope) to view structures or organs or to remove tissue. Doctors place the endoscope in the body through small incisions (cuts made during surgery) or through a natural opening, such as the nostril. It may be used to treat tumours that can be easily removed.

Maxillectomy removes part or all of the upper jaw bone (called the maxilla) on the same side of the face as the tumour.

Craniofacial resection removes the front part of the base of the skull, the ethmoid sinus, the frontal sinus and the wall of bone that divides the nasal cavity into right and left sides (called the nasal septum).

Radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy is a treatment option for stage I ethmoid sinus cancer.

External beam radiation therapy may be offered before surgery if it is likely that cancer cells will be on the cut surface of the tissue removed by surgery (called a positive surgical margin). It may also be used after surgery to lower the chance of the cancer coming back (recurring).

You may be offered radiation therapy as the main treatment instead of surgery if:

  • the tumour is too hard to remove with surgery
  • you can’t have surgery because of other health concerns
  • you choose not to have surgery


Chemoradiation may be used for stage I ethmoid sinus cancer. This treatment gives chemotherapy during the same time period as radiation therapy. The chemotherapy drug used is usually cisplatin (Platinol AQ).

Chemoradiation may be offered after surgery to lower the chance of the cancer coming back if cancer cells are found on the cut surface of the tissue removed (called a positive surgical margin).

Clinical trials

You may be asked if you want to join a clinical trial for nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.


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