By the time lung cancer presents with symptoms and a diagnosis has been given, in 85% of cases the cancer is generally unable to be removed surgically due to serious co-existing health conditions or poor respiratory function.
However, minimally invasive interventional radiology procedures can help reduce your pain and improve the quality of your life.
When Is This Procedure Conducted?
A non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure called Bone Ablation is performed when a tumor is inoperable. It is called Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), a localised treatment that kills the tumor cells with heat, while sparing the healthy tissue.
How Does This Procedure Work?
The interventional radiologist will guide a small needle through the skin into the tumor. From the tip of the needle, radiofrequency energy (similar to microwaves) is transmitted to the tip of the needle, where it produces heat in the tissues. The dead tumor tissue shrinks and slowly forms a scar.
How Will I Feel After The Procedure?
Unlike systemic therapy (chemotherapy, medications), this treatment is much easier on you.
Radiofrequency energy can be given without affecting your overall health and you are able to resume your usual activities within a few days.
How Successful Is Bone Ablation?
Depending on the size of the tumor, RFA can shrink or kill the tumor, extending your survival time and greatly improving the quality of your life while living with cancer.
In a small number of cases, RFA can extend patients’ lives, but it is generally palliative.
Because it is a local treatment that does not harm healthy tissue, the treatment can be repeated as often as needed to keep you comfortable. RFA has been available since the late 1990’s and is a very safe procedure, with complication rates around two to three percent.
By decreasing the size of a large mass, or treating new tumors as they arise, the pain and other debilitating symptoms caused by the tumors are relieved. While the tumors themselves may not be painful, when they press against nerves or interfere with vital organs, they can cause pain.
RFA is effective for small to medium-sized tumors and emerging new technologies should allow the treatment of larger cancers in the future.
Summary of Benefits of Bone Ablation
- May be performed under conscious sedation or general anaesthesia
- Is well tolerated. Most patients can resume their normal routines the next day and may feel tired only for a few days
- Can be repeated if necessary
- May be combined with other treatment options
- Can relieve pain and suffering for many cancer patients
- It has few complications
Learn more about the treatment at http://www.sirweb.org/patients/bone-cancer/