Light Therapy for Early Laryngeal Cancer May Save The Voice


A new study presented at the Triological Society’s Combined Section Meeting in Arizona last Saturday concluded that light therapy (photodynamic therapy) helps preserve the voice and vocal cord function in patients with early stage laryngeal cancer. This is a good alternative to radiation and surgery that are known to have more functional impairment on vocal cord function. The researchers from Henry Ford Hospital say they have performed more than 200 procedures that are more than any other hospital in Michigan and the therapy works by destroying deadly cancer cells without damaging surrounding healthy cells. Using a powerful laser and a non-toxic, light activated drug called PHOTOFRIN, the laser activates the drug and causes a reaction in the cancer cells destroying them.

In their study on 10 patients using photodynamic therapy patients demonstrated significant impairment of vocal cord function that subsided in a few weeks and months. Other minor side effects included photosensitivity that made them more sensitive to light and suceptible to severe sunburn lasting about 4 weeks post treatment. Some patients also experienced temporary hoarseness.

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