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Voice-saver: Light therapy for early-stage laryngeal cancer
Date:1/28/2011

DETROIT Light, or photodynamic, therapy can help preserve the voice and vocal cord function for patients with early stage laryngeal (voice box) cancer, according to a study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

"Photodynamic therapy is an effective treatment for early laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas, offering patients a less invasive option with fewer side effects than other therapies, while preserving the voice," says study co-author Vanessa G. Schweitzer, FACS, M.D., a senior staff physician in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford.

The study will be presented Jan. 29 at the Triological Society's Combined Section Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Each year in the United States, more than 10,000 people are diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. Those who smoke and drink alcohol are at a greater risk, according to the National Cancer Institute. Laryngeal cancer is most commonly treated with radiation therapy alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.

But photodynamic therapy offers some patients another option.

"It is a good alternative to radiation and surgery for early staged lesions. It can preserve function and allow us to reserve use of radiation therapy and surgery both known to have more functional impairment on vocal cord function should the cancer recur following photodynamic therapy," says study lead author Melissa L. Somers, M.D., with the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford.

Having already performed more than 200 procedures more than any other hospital in Michigan Henry Ford physicians are center stage in the application and research for this procedure.

Photodynamic therapy works by destroying deadly cancer cells without harming surrounding healthy tissue. It uses a powerful laser and a nontoxic, light-activated drug called PHOTOFRIN. The laser activates the drug, causing a reaction in the cancer cells and destroying the
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Contact: Krista Hopson
khopson1@hfhs.org
313-874-7207
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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