The treatment plan depends mainly on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. Doctors also consider the patient’s age and general health. Often, the goal of treatment is to cure the cancer. In other cases, the goal is to control the disease or to reduce symptoms for as long as possible. The treatment plan may change over time.
Your doctor can describe your treatment choices and the expected results. You and your doctor can work together to decide on a treatment plan that is best for you.
Laser therapy uses high-intensity light to treat cancer and other illnesses. Lasers can be used to shrink or destroy tumors or precancerous growths. Lasers are most commonly used to treat superficial cancers (cancers on the surface of the body or the lining of internal organs) such as basal cell skin cancer and the very early stages of some cancers, such as cervical, penile, vaginal, vulvar, and non-small cell lung cancer.
Lasers also may be used to relieve certain symptoms of cancer, such as bleeding or obstruction. For example, lasers can be used to shrink or destroy a tumor that is blocking a patient’s trachea (windpipe) or esophagus. Lasers also can be used to remove colon polyps or tumors that are blocking the colon or stomach.
Laser therapy can be used alone, but most often it is combined with other treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. In addition, lasers can seal nerve endings to reduce pain after surgery and seal lymph vessels to reduce swelling and limit the spread of tumor cells. .
MD Anderson Glossary of Cancer Terms. Houston, TX: MD Anderson. Retrieved August 15, 2011 from http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/cancer-information/glossary-of-cancer-terms/l.html
National Institute of Health. Lasers. Retrieved September 13, 2011 from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/lasers
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