A combination of medications and a particular light therapy has been found to be effective in treating certain types of head and neck cancers.
During a study, researchers focused on the use photodynamic therapy (PDT) in tropical climates.
The treatment uses a drug called a photosensitizer, or photosensitizing agent, and a particular type of light.
The study involved 24 males and 22 females, with an average age of 66 years. A total of 82 different lesions were treated, mostly in the oral cavity and vocal chords.
The findings revealed that organ preservation and cancer cure can be achieved in patients with recurrent cancer that is superficially spread in the head and neck, but not deeply infiltrated.
However, the authors cautioned that patients need extensive instruction on how to take the medications and follow-up counseling.
PDT is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, may be repeated, and may be used with other therapies, such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, giving patients a variety of treatment options.
The study was presented at 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting and OTO EXPO in San Diego.