Cranial Extensions of Head and Neck Cancers

Cranial extensions of head and neck cancers include squamous cell and basal cell tumors that can originate in the sinuses, salivary glands or orbits (the area behind each eye). Since these tumors do not differentiate between where the cranial (skull) base starts and where the brain ends, in many cases they infiltrate the cranial base.

Treatment

Patients frequently require a combined exposure whereby a head and neck surgeon resects the tumor below the cranial base and a cranial base surgeon resects the portion that has gone through the cranial base and into the brain. The multidisciplinary team at the Department of Neurosurgery may also include neuroradiologists, radiation and medical oncologists, and head and neck surgeons.

One of the challenges is to resect the tumor without any disfiguring scars. This can be done by hiding all the scars either above the hairline, in the conjunctiva (inside the eyelid) or in the mouth, whenever clinically possible.

For an appointment, a second opinion or more information, please call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771.