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Who treats nasal and sinus cancer

Men and women discussing nasal and sinus cancer

This page is about the medical teams who treat nasal and sinus cancer. You can find the following information

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Being cared for by a multidisciplinary team

NHS guidelines emphasise that all head and neck cancer patients should be under the care of a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of health professionals who work together to decide on the best way forward for each patient. The MDT includes specialist head and neck surgeons and cancer specialists, a specialist nurse, dietician, prosthodontist and speech therapist.

If you are concerned that a multi disciplinary team is not looking after you, do ask about it. It may be that you have only seen one specialist, but the team have still got together with your test results and case notes to discuss the best treatment options for you.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the treating nasal cancer section.

 

 

Who is involved in treating nasal and sinus cancer

You may need to see a variety of doctors and other health professionals who specialise in different aspects of treatment, for example a

Because these types of cancers can spread to the eyes and inside the skull you may also see an eye doctor (opthalmologist).

The links will take you to an explanation (below) of what each of these specialists does.

Head and neck surgeons

These may include

ENT doctors are specialists trained in treating conditions of the ear, nose, throat and neck. They are always qualified surgeons and are also known as otolaryngologists.

Maxillofacial surgeons are highly qualified, needing to be trained both as doctors and dentists. They specialise in the surgical treatment of a wide variety of conditions affecting the mouth, jaw, face and neck, including reconstructive surgery.

Plastic surgery means the moulding of the surface and sometimes deep structures of the human body. It can include reconstruction of an area where a cancer has been removed. Plastic surgery is common after surgery to remove a cancer of the head or neck.

Neurosurgeons are surgeons who specialise in surgery to the brain and nervous system.

Oncologist

An oncologist is a doctor who specialises in treating cancer, most often with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Restorative dentist

A restorative dentist is a specialist in replacing lost tissues and teeth. They are also called prosthodontists. They will assess your teeth before you have treatment. They may recommend that you have some removed, for example if they are decaying or loose, so that they don't cause problems later on. The restorative dentist will also advise you on how to look after your mouth and teeth during and after your treatment, and may send you to a dental hygienist for more help. It is important to keep your teeth and mouth clean to reduce the risk of infection.

The dentist will help to plan your recovery with your surgeon, so that you can speak and eat as well as possible afterwards. They may suggest using special false teeth, dental implants, or a replacement part (prosthesis) for missing teeth or any structure in the mouth. For example, some people with nasal or sinus cancer need to have surgery to remove part of their upper jawbone. The missing piece is reconstructed with a piece of bone from another part of the body. A restorative dentist can fit a prosthesis with teeth to attach to the new jawbone using dental implants. 

The hospital prosthetics department will work closely with the restorative dentist, and the maxillofacial and ENT surgeons, to help make your facial appearance as normal as possible after major surgery.

Head and neck clinical nurse specialist

A head and neck clinical nurse specialist is a qualified nurse who has specialist knowledge of cancers of the head and neck. One of their main roles is to help organise care between doctors and the other health professionals you need to see. They will also help to support you through your treatment and make sure you have the information you need to explain the treatment.

Other health professionals

You may also need help and support from other health specialists, for example a dietician or speech therapist. There is also usually a social worker or benefits advisor attached to cancer units who can advise you on benefits and grants you may qualify for.

 

 

Being cared for by a multidisciplinary team (MDT)

NHS guidelines emphasise that all head and neck cancer patients should be under the care of a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of health professionals who work together to decide on the best way forward for each patient. The MDT includes specialist head and neck surgeons and cancer specialists, a specialist nurse, dietician, prosthodontist and speech therapist. If you are concerned that a multidisciplinary team is not looking after you, do ask about it. It may be that you have only seen one specialist, but the team have still got together with your test results and case notes to discuss the best treatment options for you.

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Updated: 5 July 2014