A lot of people, including Dr. Hadiyah Green had the unfortunate luck of facing cancer.
In her case, instead of battling it herself, she lost two of the closest people in her life. Unfortunately, she is not the only one when it comes to losing family or friends to this deadly disease.
Only in her case, she was determined to fight it and put an end to this deadly disease once and for all .
She didn’t take the usual approach of raising money and awareness, she used her unique skills to find the cure.
The outcome? Lasers. Read on to find out more.
Hadiyah was brought up by her uncle and aunt, General Lee Smith and Ora Smith in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. She was an excellent student, therefore she went on and continued her studies in physics at the A&M University in Alabama.
She was the first member of her family to finish college. After she has graduated, her aunt has had some bad news for her. Unfortunately she had been diagnosed with cancer, a secret well kept for eight years.
Her aunt refused both radiation or chemotherapy, declaring she’d rather die than go through such treatment. Dr. Green, devastated at that time, failed to understand her aunt’s wish.
Her aunt passed away three months later. But misery loves company, so a short period afterwards, her uncle was also diagnosed with cancer. Esophageal cancer, to be more precise.
Unlike his beloved wife, he had decided to undergo treatment. Doctors gave him three months to live. But, Dr.Green managed to keep him alive for another 10 years by nursing him!
Still, just as Hadiyah’s late aunt had predicted chemo and radiation did more harm than good. By the end of the whole process he was completely disfigured and didn’t look like the man she used to know.
Dr.Green wondered why the treatment had such a huge effect on his whole body when he had cancer only in one spot?
Thus, she decided to dedicate her life to discovering a treatment whose side effects aren’t so terrible.
While she was working on her doctorate, she began reading about laser technology. This is when her idea was born.
She wanted to find a way to use lasers to solely and directly target cancer cells.
From then on, her 3-year long lab research on developing nanoparticle-based technology began.She will use this technology to destroy the cancer cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells in the process.
And, at the age of 35, Dr.Green has succeeded.
She managed to kill cancer cells in the bodies of mice without harming their healthy cells. This makes her the first person who destroyed cancer using laser technology.
The Difference Between Radiation and Lasers
What Exactly is Radiation?
Simply put, radiation is the use of high-energy targeted waves or particles to kill or at least damage cancer cells. These can be gamma rays, protons, x-rays and electron beams.
In comparison to chemotherapy, radiation is a fairly local treatment, because it doesn’t have an effect on a person’s whole body. All of this depends on the type of cancer and the manner at which it is administered.
Radiation’s got a lot of disadvantages though. Namely, it can have extreme side effects on a patient’s body. There are certain limitations to how much certain parts of your body can take radiation, this means that if you’ve already gone through it in the past, you may not be allowed to do it again.
Consequences of Radiation
Radiation itself damages healthy cells, and this can lead to you developing other types of cancer in the long run.
Other unwanted radiation symptoms are:
- Skin issues
- Loss of hair
- Issues with eating
- Anemia (low blood count)
- Extreme tiredness
All of these side effects are not only painful, but also emotionally, mentally and physically devastating to the patient who undergoes radiation therapy.
That’s why looking for other, better therapy alternatives is essential.
And What is Laser Therapy?
The word ‘laser’ is an acronym. It stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
It is used to treat the consequences of chemotherapy, as well as cancer itself.
This is done by:
- Destroying or shrinking the tumor through the use of heat.
- Activating a certain chemical which is called a PDT (photosensitizing agent). This chemical destroys only the cancerous cells.
The Three Types of Cancer-Treating Lasers
1. CO2 Lasers
These lasers vaporize and cut the tissue, without any heavy bleeding or damage to the surrounding or deep tissues.
They are mainly used for pre-cancer situations as well as early stage cancers.
2. Argon Lasers
Argon lasers are similar to CO2 lasers, the only difference is that they go only a short distance into the tissue.
They are used for treating certain eye tumors, skin problems or for removing polyps from your colon before they turn into cancer.
They are used in combination with PDT (light-sensitive drugs) to kill cancer cells.
3. Neodymium: Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (Nd:YAG) Lasers
These lasers go deeper into the tissue than the others. This means they are convenient for the usually hard-to reach places, like your large intestine and esophagus.
These lasers can also travel through very small optical fibers, which can bend, be put in tumors, and they kill the cancer with heat.
The Limits of Using Lasers
Unfortunately, only a few practitioners or doctors have been trained to use lasers.
Moreover, laser equipment is expensive and also quite large and heavy.
Additionally, lasers can pose a great danger to the naked, unprotected eye.
And finally, the effects of the laser do not last forever, and the treatment has to be repeated until a way can be found to make the healing results permanent.
Consequences of Laser Treatment
The only known side effects are the pain that is felt during the treatment and the high temperature which lasts for several days after the treatment.
The Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation
Dr.Green stated that she wanted everyone to have access to such a treatment, no matter how high or low their income is.
Her intention is to provide the treatment through a non-profit industry, rather than a pharmaceutical one.
Her research center was named after her uncle and aunt. And the sole purpose of this center is to try and find a cure for cancer, primarily by using lasers.
This foundation received 1.1 million U.S. dollars to help her continue her patent-pending work.