Healing Throat Cancer - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/26/04

Healing Throat Cancer

Dolly Sigel used to be a speech therapist. Ironically, she was recently faced with the possibility of losing her voice.

"I was devastated," says Sigel.

She was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her right vocal chord.

"I couldn't believe that this was happening to me," says Sigel.

One treatment option was seven weeks of radiation, but Dolly was afraid it might affect her voice.

"Lo and behold, how lucky I was because Dr. Strome was doing a new procedure that would eliminate radiation, and there was a very good chance that voice quality would be retained," says Sigel.

In that new procedure, Dr. Strome uses a laser to remove the tumor and then cryosurgery to freeze any remaining tissue.

"What the freezing does, at least to our knowledge at this point in time, is enables that scar tissue to be less dense, more pliable, and, as such, gives us a better voice quality," says Dr. Marshall Strome, an otolaryngologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Strome says the key to removing a tumor is to leave as much normal tissue as possible. He says cryosurgery does just that. This video shows doctors freezing Dolly's tumor. She had her voice back immediately.

"I'm very optimistic. I just think it's terrific. Without a doubt, with no question, this has been a blessing," says Sigel.

It's a blessing she hopes will last.

Symptoms of throat cancer include a sore throat or cough that doesn't go away, trouble or pain when swallowing, continued ear pain, a lump in the neck or throat or a change or hoarseness in the voice. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor. And by the way, Dolly has another message. If you smoke, but plan to quit "someday" she says the sooner the better. Because she hasn't smoked for 14 years, but she has learned that old habit is to blame now for her fight against throat cancer.

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