About us Interviews & Patient… 01.02.2020 Keeping her…

Keeping her voice

Diagnosis adenoid cystic carcinoma

Diagnosis adenoid cystic carcinoma: Mrs. Rosenow tells her story about keeping her voice thanks to carbon ion therapy at the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center (HIT).

In 2016, a rare malignant tumour, the so-called adenoid-cystic carcinoma, was found in the area of the larynx of Mrs. Rosenow. Effective chemotherapy for adenoid-cystic carcinoma is not yet available. The surgical removal of the larynx would have meant loss of voice and speech for her. Mrs. Rosenow therefore decided on the possibility of irradiation with ions at the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Centre (HIT). Three years after the irradiation, Dr. Sati Akbaba talked to Mrs. Rosenow about her experiences.

Dr.Akbaba What was offered to you as an alternative to radiotherapy at the time and why did you decide to undergo radiotherapy?
Mrs. Rosenow The most blatant option was that my larynx might be removed and then I thought I'd try radiation therapy first, because the larynx can still be removed afterwards if necessary. Of course, this would have been a very hard procedure and I am glad that I decided for the radiotherapy. Everything is still perfect today.

Dr.Akbaba How did you feel about the radiation therapy?
Mrs. Rosenow Not unpleasant, surprisingly very good. The therapy got me very well.

Dr.Akbaba How did the time after radiotherapy turn out for you? Did you have any side effects?
Mrs. Roswnow I had almost no side effects. Some difficulties with swallowing and minor burns on the neck, but these have healed very well. I also lost some weight, but overall everything was alright.

Dr.Akbaba How did your voice quality develop and did you feel changes in your voice?
Mrs. Rosenow My voice has improved a lot. It was hoarse before the therapy and I couldn't answer the phone for example. Now my voice is good again, much clearer. 

Dr.Akbaba You haven’t had a tumor recurrence yet, right?
Mrs. Rosenow Yes, the tumor hasn’t come back. I regularly get it checked and if everything stays that way, I am more than happy.

Golden standard for everyone?

Connect In which cases is primary irradiation of the adenoid-cystic carcinoma preferred to surgery?
Dr. Akbaba Radiation is used especially for patients who have an explicit desire for laryngeal preservation. Also for patients with inoperable tumors we mainly go with the primary radiotherapy with which both, the larnyx and the larynx function can be preserved. Of course, in each individual case the decision will be discussed in an interdisciplinary tumor conference.

Connect What happens in case od a tumor relapse? Is there an option for further radiation therapy?
Dr. Akbaba In general, further radiation therapy is possible, but the indication must be thoroughly questioned and discussed in an interdisciplinary manner in this case as well.