Laser therapy uses
high-intensity light to treat cancer and other illnesses. Lasers can
be used to shrink or destroy tumors. 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 carcinoma and the very
early stages of some cancers, such as cervical, 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 instance, lasers can be used to shrink or
destroy a tumor that is blocking a patientís 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.