Laser Treatment of Cancer! A new hope for patients
Laser Treatment Of Cancer A New Hope For Patients. Cancer treatment has benefitted greatly from this revolution called Laser.
Laser applications are finding their way in every aspect of our modern life.Right from changing the way we drive our cars to listening to our favourite music, laser is making its presence felt everywhere. Medicine is not far behind. Laser has practically taken over many aspects of medicine. Many conditions which were felt to have no treatment are now having a new lease of life thanks to laser.
Cancer treatment has benefitted greatly from this revolution called Laser.
Before I go further let me explain some fundamentals of present day Cancer treatment. Ideal treatment in cancer is aimed at minimising damage to healthy tissues and restricting damage to cancerous tissue. Surgery tries to achieve it but at a great cost and is many times not effective in this goal.
Cure is generally hoped forin cancer treatment but rarely achieved. Cancer treatment is divided into curative i.e. long term remission in early stages and palliative i.e. relief of some symptoms like pain in late stages. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are very effective in early stages but their efficiency rapidly declines as the size of tumour increases.
Surgery in late stages offers little if any relief from the progression of the disease. It slows down the progression but very minimally in most cases. The side effects and morbidity of surgery are often the limiting factors in prescribing surgery in these cases especially in elderly patients.
Laser has now come to the rescue of these patients. It works by delivering heat inside the tumour to burn it and this can be controlled by the Laser surgeon.
Laser is now accepted as the best form of palliation in advanced cancer of mouth. The signs of advanced cancer of mouth include
1. Skin involvement
2. Muscle involvement
3. Bone involvement
4. Tumour more than 4 cms in length.
Since no surgery is performed patients tolerate it much better and anaesthesia time is not more than 30 minutes in most cases.
Laser can burn from inside upto 90% of the tumour in a single session. Patient's body now has to deal with less than 10% of the tumour.
This works to a great advantage for the patient as there is no cutting of the tumour.The best part of this procedure is that one can now decrease the dose of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. They are also seen to be much more effective and the side effects are also lessened.
This happens with all his eating and strength intact. Most of pain of cancer goes within 24 hrs.and there is no deformity. Cosmetically this is aboon for all patients.
The patient can resume his activities within 24 to 48 hrs after laser in most cases.
It is now the ideal form of treatment for elderly patients. Though this treatment is not available in most centres, it will be in due course of time as more and more doctorsall over the world receive training in this exciting development.
Laser treatment is not limited to mouth cancer but is also being used for brain, skin, breast, muscle and liver tumours. In years to come it is expected to be a very important armament in our fight against cancer.
By Dr Rusy Bhalla
Dr Rusy Bhalla is a consultant Laser Oncosurgeon at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital Mumbai. He has been performing exclusively laser surgery for last 7 years.