The Gynaecology Service of Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB) has incorporated a CO2 laser to treat the symptoms of vaginal atrophy and dryness that affect many women undergoing treatment for some type of gynaecological cancer, such as breast, ovarian or cervical cancer.
Precisely because of these treatments, many of the patients cannot receive any of the usual therapies for genitourinary syndrome, such as hormone-based therapies, so they have to live with symptoms that have a direct impact on their quality of life.
"Our forecast is to treat between 60 and 80 oncology patients annually with the CO2 laser. Our goal is to improve their quality of life with the maximum safety offered by the clinical results", according to Dr José Manuel Martínez, from the Gynaecology Service of the Hospital de Bellvitge.
The menopause as well as many cancer treatments accelerate vaginal atrophy, which can cause dryness, a burning sensation, itching, discomfort when urinating and dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse). The laser emits light through CO2 stimulation and produces a regenerative thermal effect on the vaginal mucosa, thanks to the formation of new collagen, the protein that allows the vaginal tissue to recover its elasticity. The treatment is carried out with two or three outpatient laser sessions.
Another positive effect of the incorporation of the CO2 laser will be a boost to research, as Dr Martínez emphasises, "we will be able to launch new studies to confirm the greater efficacy of the laser compared to other pharmacological treatments".
The acquisition of the CO2 gynaecological laser is part of the PRI-ERAS innovative public procurement programme, which aims to incorporate an intensified recovery programme for patients undergoing gynaecological oncology and pelvic floor surgery. The initiative is subsidised by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Operational Programme.