New Breakthrough In Throat Surgery Helps Singers Retain Their Voices After Cancer

Health & Medical Blog

Getting throat cancer as a singer can be devastating, because it means that your current career choice is no longer viable. You will have to go through a series of surgeries that will likely damage your vocal cords and make it so that it is difficult for you to sing with the same pitch and intonation that you are used to, if you are able to sing at all. Luckily, a recent breakthrough has been made in the field of throat surgery. It is now possible to use a laser to very carefully remove tumors from the throat without actually ever touching the vocal cords. Here are some commonly asked questions about this new development.

1. What is the treatment called?

The new treatment is completed using a piece of technology known as the potassium titanyl phosphate laser, or KTP laser.

2. How does it work?

The KTP laser works by being fired in short pulses at the tumors in the throat. There is a small rest between each pulse in order to allow the throat cells to cool down to reduce the chances of there being damage. 

3. How do I know if I'm eligible?

In order for the KTP laser to work effectively, the cancer needs to be caught in its earliest stages, while it is still in your throat tissue. If it spreads or if it moves into the folds of your throat rather than staying near the surface, then you are likely going to need a more aggressive form of treatment in order to get rid of the tumors. You can talk to your doctor if you've recently been diagnosed with throat cancer to see which stage of the cancer you are currently in. 

4. What if I don't have cancer, but it runs in my family?

If you don't have cancer but it runs in your family, then you will need to go in for a diagnostic checkup regularly to make sure that you can retain your voice should cancer develop. You want to catch the cancer as early as possible. There is a tool called the strobovideolaryngoscope, which is a camera and probe that is put into your throat to measure the mucus. If, as you breath or talk, the mucus moves normally with no obstructions, then you have no tumors. If the mucus moves irregularly, then a more comprehensive diagnostic test can be run to check to see if you have cancer. Catching it early increases the chances that your vocal cords can be saved.

For more information, talk to a your doctor about getting in touch with professional surgeons, like those at Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head, that offer this treatment.


16 July 2015

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