Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, Aruna Turaka, a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase, said that three dimensional radiation therapy is safer and more effective.

This mode of treating the said condition allows the radiation to conform to the shape of the tumor, and avoids side effects of radiation. Generally patients undergoing radiation therapy face the unpleasant side effects like severe dry mouth and vision related problems.

The paranasal sinuses are air filled chambers found on both sides of the nasal cavity. These chambers are coated with cells producing mucus and different kinds of cells could become malignant. The malignancy could be caused by inherent risk factors such as exposure to chemicals, dust or even cigarette smoke.

"Due to the location of the sinuses, treating with radiation therapy by standard, conventional techniques is a challenge because it can cause side effects to the eyes and optic apparatus that eventually may lead to long-term complications," says Turaka. "Another concern is dry mouth due to radiation damage to the salivary glands."

The team of scientists sought to explore if radiation therapy with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to accurately target tumors, could minimize the exposure to healthy, adjacent tissues. Further to also find the efficacy of such a therapy as compared to standard radiation therapy.

"In these patients, we did not see detrimental visual complications," Turaka says. "There were only minor side effects, such as dry eyes, which can be managed with tear supplements." likewise, patients in this study did not develop severe dry mouth.

"These results lead us to conclude that IMRT appears to be a safe and effective treatment for paranasal tumors," Turaka says.