Squamous cell carcinomas are relatively slow-growing malignant tumors that can spread (metastasize) to surrounding tissue if left untreated. Squamous cell carcinoma may spread to the sinuses or skull base, or other areas of the brain.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a cancer that arises from squamous cells, which are flat, scale-like cells that compose most of the upper layer of the skin. These cells also line passageways and hollow organs in the body including the lungs, esophagus, cervix, mouth, nasal passageways, and throat. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer in the United States, with more than 200,000 new cases reported per year.
The preferred surgical treatment at UPMC for squamous cell carcinoma of the sinuses and skull base is the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) to remove the tumor. This innovative, minimally invasive technique uses the nose and nasal cavities as natural corridors to access hard-to-reach or previously inoperable tumors. EEA offers the benefits of no incisions to heal, no disfigurement to the patient, and a faster recovery time. If complementary treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy are needed, those therapies can begin soon after surgery.
Cases of squamous cell carcinoma in the sinuses, skull base, or brain require imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans to identify the presence and exact location of the tumor.
Symptoms will vary based on the location and size of the tumor.
Treatment varies based on the location and size of the tumor. Larger tumors are surgically removed.
Squamous cell carcinomas of the sinuses and skull base can be approached directly through the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This state-of-the-art, minimally invasive surgical procedure uses the nose as a natural corridor to reach these lesions. There are no incisions in the skin of the face or head.
At UPMC, we take a 360° Approach to treatment when evaluating each patient—looking at their conditions from every direction—to find the path that is least disruptive to the patient's brain, critical nerves, and ability to return to normal functioning. Our neurosurgical team may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to maximize the benefits of surgery while minimizing risks.
Radiation is commonly used to treat brain tumors, since surgery isn't always an option. Radiation therapy may be delivered externally by directing radiation at the tumor from an outside source, internally by placing radioactive material directly in the body near the cancer, or using stereotactic radiosurgery to deliver a concentrated dose of radiation directly to the brain tumor.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, chemotherapy may be taken by mouth, as an injection, or placed directly into the brain tumor site.