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Laser treatment offers 'ray of hope' for cancer patients

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Pioneering laser treatments for certain types of cancer should become a mainstream alternative to more traditional methods currently used such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, according to experts in the field.

Known as Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), the treatment uses a combination of non-thermal lasers with special photo-sensitive dyes for the selective removal of unwanted tissue, including solid tumours.

And the specialists, based at leading treatment and research centres throughout the UK, have now united to launch a new national campaign, known as the UK PDT Charitable Trust, in order to raise public awareness and boost funding.

Cardio-thoracic surgeon and laser pioneer Professor Keyvan Moghissi, who is chairing the Trust, said: “PDT offers a real ‘ray of hope’ for a large number of cancer patients and should have equal status as a treatment alongside chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.”

The NICE guidance for non-melanoma skin tumours, says there are “no major safety concerns” about the treatment.

Its guidance on advanced oesophageal cancer, meanwhile, states: “Current evidence on the safety and efficacy of palliative photodynamic therapy for advanced oesophageal cancer is of poor quality but appears adequate to support the use of this procedure to relieve symptoms in patients with a poor prognosis.”

However, possible complications identified included skin photosensitivity and brain tumours are not recommended to have the treatment, NICE said.

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