Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lasers May Treat Cancers of the Larynx

My dad recently sent me a video of an interview with the doctor who developed lasers that may treat cancers of the larynx. It is an interesting concept:

The therapy, which uses heat from the laser to destroy the tumor’s blood supply and cancer cells, damages surrounding tissue far less than radiation and different types of lasers.

It has been tested in only 28 patients, all at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Yet the initial findings hold promise because the laser was the patients’ only treatment and none have had a recurrence or needed surgery or radiation after a mean follow-up of 27 months, the team’s leader, Dr. Steven M. Zeitels, said in an interview. The longest is more than five years.

Apparently, before the lasers, these types of cancers required surgery and radiation, a much more intensive approach. In the video interview (I think it was on ABC's 20/20), the doctor treated one of Israel's famous comedians who used his voice all the time to perform. The comedian was highly pleased with the results, 3 years out. I wonder what further applications this technique has.

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