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Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

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Treatments for stage I maxillary sinus cancer

The following are treatment options for stage I maxillary 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

Surgery is the main treatment for stage I maxillary sinus cancer. The type of surgery done depends on the size of the tumour and where the tumour is in the maxillary sinus.

Medial maxillectomy removes part of the upper jaw (called the maxilla) closest to the nose, including the side wall of the nose.

Partial or infrastructure maxillectomy removes part of the maxilla. An infrastructure maxillectomy also removes part of the hard palate and the side wall of the nose.

Total, or radical, maxillectomy removes the maxilla on one side of the face, including part of the hard palate and the floor of the orbit (eye socket) above the tumour.

Radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy may be offered after surgery for stage I maxillary sinus cancer. It is given after surgery if:

  • cancer cells are on or close to the cut surface of the tissue removed by surgery (called positive or close surgical margins)
  • cancer cells have grown into nerves or other tissues

In some cases, external beam radiation therapy may be offered instead of surgery. This may be an option if the person with cancer can’t have surgery because of other health concerns or chooses not to have surgery.

Radiation therapy may also be given 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).

Chemoradiation

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

Chemoradiation may be offered after surgery if:

  • cancer cells are on or near the cut surface of the tissue removed by surgery (called positive surgical margins)
  • cancer cells surround a nerve or are growing along a nerve (called perineural invasion)

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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