Indexed on: 22 Sep '09Published on: 22 Sep '09Published in: Photomedicine and laser surgery
The aim of this multidisciplinary study was to evaluate quantitatively and qualitatively the effect of a 660-nm diode laser in the prevention and treatment of human oral mucositis (OM) in patients suffering from head and neck cancer who had undergone radiotherapy and chemotherapy.OM is a severe oral lesion resulting from the toxic effects of treatment for cancer in the head and neck region. Low-level laser therapy is indicated to prevent and treat this oral complication and may be used alone or in association with conventional drug treatment, producing pain relief and wound repair.This study included 72 patients with head and neck cancer treated at the Cancer Hospital of Mato-Grosso, Brazil, and divided into a control group (C; n = 36) and a laser group (L; n = 36). Laser therapy was performed in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy twice a week using a diode laser (lambda = 660 nm, power = 30 mW, spot size = 2 mm, energy = 2 J per point).Statistically significant differences were observed between the two groups. Patients in group L usually did not present with OM or pain, but all patients in group C presented with OM ranging from Level I to III associated with pain. This difference was significant from week 1 on, increased until week 4 and remained stable up to week 7.Laser therapy was effective in preventing and treating oral effects induced by radiotherapy and chemotherapy, thus improving the patient's quality of life.