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Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

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Treatments for stage III maxillary sinus cancer

The following are treatment options for stage III 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 III maxillary sinus cancer. The type of surgery done depends on which tissues the tumour has grown into.

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

Neck dissection removes lymph nodes in the neck (called cervical lymph nodes). It is done if the cancer has spread to these lymph nodes. Learn more about neck dissection.

Radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy may be offered before or after surgery for stage III maxillary sinus cancer.

External beam radiation therapy may 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)
  • the cancer has spread to lymph nodes that can’t be removed by surgery

External beam radiation therapy 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 surround a nerve or are growing along a nerve (called perineural invasion)
  • cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck (called cervical lymph nodes)

Chemoradiation

Chemoradiation may be given before or after surgery for stage III 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 given as a main treatment for a tumour in the maxillary sinus. It is also used to destroy any cancer cells that may have spread to the lymph nodes in the neck (called cervical lymph nodes).

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)
  • to destroy any cancer cells that may have spread to the lymph nodes in the neck
  • if cancer cells have grown outside of a lymph node into the surrounding tissues

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy may be offered for stage III maxillary sinus cancer. Cetuximab (Erbitux) is the drug most often used.

Targeted therapy may be offered with radiation therapy as the main treatment instead of surgery.

Targeted therapy may be given after surgery if cancer cells are on the cut surface of the tissue removed by surgery (called positive surgical margins).

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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