Combo Treatment Best for Laryngeal Cancer Patients

Chemo-radiation offers better speech quality after treatment than surgery

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MONDAY, Aug. 9, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Chemo-radiation treatment offers a similar survival rate and better post-treatment speech quality for people with laryngeal cancer than surgical removal of the voice box does.

So says a University of Michigan study to be presented at the International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer, which runs from Aug. 7 to 11 in Washington, D.C.

The findings indicate a chemo-radiated voice box is worth preserving. But the study authors noted that longer follow-up of larynx-preservation patients is needed to evaluate late toxicity and voice box function. That's because fibrosis can continue over time following aggressive radiation treatment.

Treatment options for laryngeal cancer include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, chemo-radiation or a combination of those treatments. Depending on the extent of the cancer, surgery may involve removal of the entire larynx, a permanent hole in the neck that allows the patient to breathe (tracheostoma), and vocal impairment.

While non-surgical treatments such as chemo-radiation can preserve the larynx itself, the damage caused to surrounding tissue can render the larynx dysfunctional.

More information

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has more about laryngeal cancer.

SOURCE: American Head and Neck Society, news release, Aug. 7, 2004

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