Radiotherapy and chemotherapy simultaneously aid patients with laryngeal cancer preserve their voice box. Treatment for laryngeal cancer often includes removal of the larynx or voice box. The patient has to learn to speak through an opening made in the throat. It may be a life-saving option, but it's one that has a drastic impact on the quality of that life.
Researchers at the University of Dallas have been looking into other treatment approaches for laryngeal cancer. In a study involving 500 patients, three different treatment regimes were tried. In the first, the patients received two chemotherapy drugs, cisplatin and fluorouracil, followed by radiotherapy if there was a good response to chemotherapy. In the second, patients got cisplatin at the same time as radiotherapy, and in the third, they received radiotherapy alone.
Two years on, it was obvious that receiving a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time was a far more effective way of preserving the larynx than the other two approaches. The study means that those with laryngeal cancer may be offered a treatment regime that avoids radical surgery and so offers a better quality of life.