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Treatment Options and Influencing Factors for Nose Cancer

Your nose doesn’t only play a role in smell but also filters debris, helps with breathing, and adds moisture to the air you breathe in. Cancer that affects your nose can have a significant impact on these functions. These types of cancers can develop in your frontal, ethmoidal, sphenoidal, or maxillary sinuses. They are usually classified as either paranasal or nasal cavity cancers, and the survival rate with early diagnoses is quite high, particularly when treatment is provided during these stages. We will explore the available treatment options, as well as what affects the choices you have.

Most Important Factors that Affect Your Nose Cancer Treatment Options

In many cases where a patient is diagnosed with nose cancer, the standard treatment will often include surgery. However, this is not the only treatment option available, and might also not be a suitable choice for everyone.

That’s why it’s important to understand what your treatment team needs to look at to determine how to address nose cancer.

These are some of the things they will consider:

  • Whether you have nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer.
  • The specific position of the tumor that developed.
  • Whether or not the cancer has spread.
  • Your current health (including assessing whether you have any problems with infections)

When these factors are all taken into consideration, your treatment team may suggest:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy

Surgery for Nose Cancer

The most common treatment for nose cancer is surgery. This procedure helps to remove the cancerous tumor before it has a chance to spread to other tissues. It’s often the first-line treatment and can be combined with other therapies when a more effective approach is needed.

However, while surgery is often the first treatment, there are times when the cancer is too big to remove immediately. In this case, your care team will likely recommend using radiation therapy to shrink the cancer. This will be done up to the point where the cancer can be removed through surgery. There are also cases where your providers may use chemotherapy along with radiation therapy before they perform surgery.

The type of surgical procedure depends on how severe the cancer is, as well as the location of the tumor. Your doctor will first do a series of imaging tests. This will help them visualize the cancer, its location, and the size of the tumor.

Sometimes, you’ll have to receive further treatment after surgery. This is usually the case if the surgeon finds signs of positive margins or perineural invasion, then you’ll likely need to undergo radiation therapy afterward. This helps to kill any remaining cancer cells that are still present in your nasal cavity or sinuses.

If you have stage three or more advanced cancer, then surgery might remove lymph nodes as well. In this stage, it’s common to see the cancer spreading to lymph nodes in your neck, for example. These lymph nodes need to be removed to stop the cancer from spreading further.

Radiation Therapy for Nose Cancer

Radiation therapy is another treatment that can work well for nose cancer. This type of therapy uses an external device that shoots a radioactive beam into your body – the therapist performing the procedure will point the beam directly to the area where the tumor is located.

This therapy relies on high-energy x-ray beams that essentially kill those cancerous cells that cause the tumor to grow. The treatment will generally last for a couple of weeks, and you’ll need to go into the treatment center on a daily basis (only on weekdays).

Different types of radiation therapy exist. Your treatment team will assess your nose cancer to decide which option to use.

In very rare cases, your doctor may advise you to undergo photon beam radiotherapy. This is done only by a specialist who is used to working with this type of therapy. It is also only recommended for cases where the radiation beam needs to be targeted to your skull base.

In other cases, standard radiation therapy is used. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend using radiation therapy with chemotherapy as a combined treatment. This may be done before surgery or without having to undergo a surgical procedure.

If you had surgery for nose cancer, then there are some situations where your treatment team will continue with radiotherapy afterward. This includes cases where the tumor was difficult to remove during surgery, and when your surgeon wants to ensure there are no more cancer cells left.

Chemotherapy for Nose Cancer

While chemotherapy targets cancer cells with the use of radioactive beams, chemotherapy uses drugs that are specially designed to stop their growth and prevent these cells from reproducing. This is a treatment that is often combined with other therapies to give you better results.

It’s important to note that different kinds of chemotherapy drugs can be used for nose cancer. You’ll likely receive these drugs as an injection into a vein, but sometimes an oral chemotherapy drug is used instead. Combination therapy is also available for cases where chemotherapy will be used for nose cancer – in this case, you’ll take more than just one type of drug.

Your doctor may also recommend chemoradiotherapy, which is a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, there are a couple of tests that need to be done before you can go on this type of therapy. These tests will make sure you are in a state considered appropriate for the combined therapy. If your doctor determines you are not well enough to receive chemotherapy, they may suggest that you only use radiation therapy.

Immunotherapy for Nose Cancer

While surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are often the main treatments that doctors use for nose cancer, they are not the only options. Immunotherapy is another choice that essentially strengthens your immune system against cancer cells.

 

The immune system is the body’s natural defense. However, cancer cells can make certain proteins that “hide” them from your immune system. This makes it difficult for the immune system to identify and attack cancerous cells – which is where immunotherapy comes into the picture.

This type of therapy can include using either a type of “vaccine”, or modifying your own blood cells. When immunotherapy is done, your immune system becomes more capable of bypassing these proteins and attacking the cancer cells.

There are studies that have investigated the potential use of immunotherapy for nose cancer. One research paper reports that it’s not only effective to control nasopharyngeal carcinoma, but also to eliminate the cancerous cells.

Since immunotherapy strengthens your immune system against cancer cells, it could be a better treatment compared to chemotherapy in some cases. This is especially true in scenarios where you are already susceptible to infections, as chemotherapy can reduce immune function.

Palliative Care for Nose Cancer

There are times when cancer spreads or grows too large for removal through surgery, and other treatment options don’t do much. This is sometimes the case with a more advanced stage of nose cancer.

 

In these situations, doctors may rather focus on palliative care. This may still include using cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy, to slow down the growth and spreading of the cancer. However, it also includes strategies that help the patient feel more comfortable and to reduce the pain caused by the cancer.

While palliative care is important for those with advanced cancers, it also plays a role in earlier stages. Even when treatment is effective, a care team will still focus on helping you feel less discomfort while you’re undergoing therapies for your cancer.

Palliative care often involves the use of medication that reduces pain. Your care team can also consider any side effects that you experience from cancer treatment, and work on a plan that will minimize the impact they have on your life.

Nose Cancer Treatment at King’s College Hospital London in Dubai

A nose cancer diagnosis is worrisome and affects more than just the patient, as the family can also go through hardship. At King’s College Hospital London, located in Dubai, we have a team of professionals who focus on different areas of cancer treatment. We work together with every patient to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses their unique situation. This helps to provide a more effective approach to treating nose cancer and reducing the risk of recurrence.

 

To schedule an appointment and discuss your nose cancer treatment options, get in touch with our experts at King’s College Hospital London in Dubai.

 

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