What is cancer?
There are many types of cancer, and cancer can start any place in the body. Cancer tumors originate when cells grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. These tumors are categorized as malignant. A variety of factors contribute to development of cancer, including genetics, age, tobacco use and ethnic factors. A common method to determine whether a tumor is malignant is through a biopsy.
How does IR treat cancer?
IR treatments for cancer are options if you are not a candidate for surgical treatments, if you don’t want surgery, or if your cancer has not responded to cancer drugs. IR may also be used to diagnose cancer (for example in an image-guided biopsy), to drain infections and abnormal collections of fluid in the chest and abdomen, or to place devices such as chest ports so that those who must receive regular infusions of chemotherapy drugs can have them delivered directly into the bloodstream.
Interventional radiologists can help treat various cancers in various ways:
- Chemoembolization involves the delivery of cancer-killing medication through a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) directly to the affected organ, decreasing blood flow in the arteries that supply the cancer.
- Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT), also known as Y-90, treats cancer through the injection of small spheres of radioactive substance into the blood vessels supplying the tumor.
- Cryoablation is a treatment option that destroys cancer cells by emitting extremely cold temperatures at the location of the tumor.
- Radiofrequency ablation is a form of thermal (heat) ablation (removal of tissue) that uses electric current, which is transformed into heat, to destroy the tumor.
- Microwave ablation is a thermal ablation technique that uses electromagnetic waves to destroy cancer cells.
- Irreversible electroporation is the newest form of ablation and creates an electrical field at the cancer cells, causing them to die.
- Palliative interventional radiology can provide with pain relief and symptom management during the terminal phase of illness.
Disclaimer: This information is provided as a public service. IYA assumes no liability, legal, financial or otherwise for the accuracy of this information or the manner in which it is used. This information is being provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace professional medical advice from your physician or qualified health care professional.