Support for Sinonasal Cancer

Throughout diagnosis and treatment, doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and rehabilitation specialists at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center collaborate to provide support for people with sinonasal cancer.

Our doctors provide follow-up care after treatment has ended. They may see you every month during the first year after treatment; every 2 months during the second year; every 3 months during the third year; and every 6 to 12 months in the fourth and fifth years. During these appointments, your doctor may perform a physical exam, nasal endoscopy, and imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, to ensure the cancer has not returned.

NYU Langone specialists offer many support services during and after treatment for sinonasal cancer.

Visual Rehabilitation

Sometimes sinonasal tumors and their treatments can damage the orbital muscle, which helps the eyes to move, and the optic nerve, which delivers information from the eye to the brain. This can cause temporary or permanent vision problems.

Doctors at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation can help you adapt to changes in your vision. Specialists include physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, or physiatrists; ophthalmologists; neurologists; and neuro- ophthalmologists, who can assess and treat how the brain processes information gathered by the eyes and how the eye functions. Therapists help you achieve the highest possible level of independence in your daily activities.

An ophthalmologist evaluates you for vision loss and can prescribe corrective glasses or lenses. An occupational therapist can provide strategies for coping with any remaining vision problems that interfere with your ability to perform routine tasks, such as dressing, cooking, driving, and working.

If vision loss leads to problems with balance and stability, physical therapists can provide exercises to improve your gait. Occupational therapists can teach you how to navigate crowded areas in your community.

Reducing Muscle Stiffness and Pain

Sometimes radiation therapy or surgery for sinonasal cancer can cause stiffness and pain in the face, jaw, and neck. A physiatrist can assess you and prescribe physical therapy at Rusk Rehabilitation. A physical therapist can teach you exercises, stretches, and relaxation techniques to ease any discomfort.

Radiation therapy may also cause thickening of the skin and soft tissues, known as fibrosis. Physical therapists can relieve discomfort with myofascial release, a hands-on technique that involves manipulating and applying pressure to the jaw and facial tissues to loosen them and improve your range of motion.

If stiffness and fibrosis are interfering with your daily activities, your NYU Langone doctor can prescribe occupational therapy to help you regain your independence in performing everyday tasks.

Managing Hearing Problems

If radiation therapy for sinonasal cancer causes hearing loss, NYU Langone otolaryngologists, also known as ear, nose, and throat specialists, and audiologists can conduct sophisticated tests to determine your treatment options. Possibilities include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, or managing inflammation of the middle ear that can result from treatment such as radiation therapy.

Dental Health

Your physicians may recommend that you see a dentist before, during, and after treatment for sinonasal cancer, because radiation therapy can sometimes cause dry mouth, leading to tooth decay. Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, daily fluoride treatments, using mouthwash, and having dental checkups can help to prevent these complications.

Nutrition

If radiation therapy or chemotherapy is causing dry mouth and loss of appetite, you may need a nutritional assessment and dietary plan. Nutritionists at Perlmutter Cancer Center can help ensure you are getting the nutrients you need during treatment and recovery. Specialists can also recommend dietary changes to help ease the discomfort of dry mouth.

Lymphedema Care

Surgery for sinonasal cancer may involve the removal of lymph nodes, which may affect lymph vessels in the neck. These vessels carry lymph fluid, which contains bacteria and waste products, away from the body’s organs and tissues. Changes to these vessels can cause lymph fluid to build up, which can lead to swelling, stiffness, reduced range of motion, and discomfort in the face and neck. This condition is called lymphedema.

A physiatrist can evaluate you for the early signs of the condition and educate you about the early symptoms such as stiffness, aching, tingling, or a feeling of fullness in the neck and face. The sooner treatment starts, the more likely the condition is improved and controlled.

If you notice any symptoms, the physiatrist evaluates you and then prescribes physical therapy at Rusk Rehabilitation. Physical therapy includes range-of-motion and flexibility exercises in conjunction with specialized massage therapy to help drain lymph fluid. You are also taught how to manage this condition to prevent recurrence.

Managing Fatigue

If you are experiencing fatigue from the cancer or treatment, NYU Langone doctors may prescribe physical therapy and occupational therapy, which are available at Rusk Rehabilitation. These therapies may include strength and aerobic exercises to address fatigue caused by surgery or radiation therapy. The goals are to improve your quality of life and help you return to your daily activities.

Neuropathy Treatment

Neuropathy—in which nerves are damaged, causing numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness, most often in the hands and feet—may be a side effect of the chemotherapy drugs used to manage sinonasal cancer.

Doctors at Rusk Rehabilitation may prescribe medication to ease the discomfort of neuropathy. They can also prescribe physical therapy to help ensure that neuropathy doesn’t interfere with your balance, strength, or ability to walk and perform daily activities.

Social and Psychological Support

Social workers are available to help you address any financial matters or logistical challenges—such as handling insurance reimbursement and traveling to your medical appointments—that may arise during your treatment for sinonasal cancer.

Support groups and one-on-one counseling sessions with a psycho-oncologist, a healthcare provider trained to address the needs of people with cancer, are available at Perlmutter Cancer Center. Counseling may help you and your family members cope with stress or anxiety.

Supportive and Integrative Care

Supportive care specialists at Perlmutter Cancer Center manage any ongoing cancer-related or treatment-related symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, or stress, helping to improve quality of life.

Integrative therapies, such as acupuncture, may lessen discomfort and relieve dry mouth, a side effect of radiation treatment. Yoga and massage therapy can help reduce stress and enhance wellbeing.