Squamous cell carcinomas are defined as relatively slow-growing malignant (cancerous) 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 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.
At UPMC, the preferred surgical treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the sinuses and skull base is the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This innovative, minimally invasive technique uses the nose and nasal cavities as natural corridors to access hard-to-reach or previously inoperable tumors. Benefits of minimally invasive EEA surgery include:
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 for squamous cell carcinoma 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 approach allows surgeons to access the tumor through the natural corridor of the nose, without making an open incision. Surgeons then remove the tumor through the nose and nasal cavities.
EEA offers the benefits of no incisions to heal, no disfigurement, and a faster recovery time.
UPMC's neurosurgical team may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to treat squamous cell carcinomas.
Radiation is commonly used to treat brain tumors, since surgery isn't always an option. Radiation therapy may be delivered:
Chemotherapy treatment uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, chemotherapy may be taken by mouth, injected, or placed directly into the brain tumor site.
Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery Offers Hope
Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA)
Pituitary Tumor Removal Using the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) at UPMC