Esthesioneuroblastoma treatment usually involves an operation to remove the cancer. Other treatments include radiation with high-powered energy beams and chemotherapy with powerful drugs.
Surgical techniques vary, depending on the tumor's location, and generally include procedures performed by:
- Removing the nasal portion of the tumor. This is normally done as endoscopic surgery. The surgeon uses a long, thin tube (endoscope) equipped with a camera inserted through the nose to assess the cancer. Special surgical tools are passed through the endoscope to visualize the area and assist with the removal of the cancer and the surrounding tissue.
- Opening the skull to gain access to the tumor. A craniotomy is a procedure to remove a small portion of the skull in order to remove the tumor and separate it from the brain.
Treatment for esthesioneuroblastoma usually involves experts from multiple specialties, such as neurosurgeons, head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells. People with esthesioneuroblastoma often undergo radiation therapy after surgery to kill any microscopic cancer cells that might remain in the head and neck.
Radiation therapy can also be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy if surgery isn't an option due to other health concerns or if the cancer is too advanced to be removed through an operation.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. In people with esthesioneuroblastoma, chemotherapy is combined with radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may remain, especially for cancers that are very aggressive or extensive.