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Laser therapy for cancer

Laser therapy uses a very narrow, focused beam of light to shrink or destroy cancer cells. It can be used to cut out tumors without damaging other tissue.

Laser therapy is often given through a thin, lighted tube that is put inside the body. Thin fibers at the end of the tube direct the light at the cancer cells. Lasers are also used on the skin.

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How Laser Therapy is Used

Laser therapy can be used to:

Lasers are most often used with other types of cancer treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Some of the cancers laser therapy can treat include:

Types of Laser Therapy

The most common lasers for treating cancer are:

Benefits of Laser Therapy

Compared to surgery, laser therapy has some benefits. Laser therapy:

The downsides of laser therapy are:

References

American Cancer Society website. Lasers in cancer treatment. www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/lasers-in-cancer-treatment.html. Updated May 4, 2020. Accessed December 6, 2021.

Garrett CG, Reinisch L, Fletcher KC. Laser surgery: basic principles and safety considerations. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Francis HW, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 59.

National Cancer Institute website. Lasers in cancer treatment. www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/surgery/lasers-fact-sheet. Updated June 16, 2021. Accessed December 6, 2021.

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Review Date: 10/28/2021  

Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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