Our interventional radiologists’ specialized training in medical imaging and minimally invasive image-guided techniques play a valuable role in the care of patients diagnosed with cancer.
Many masses detected on imaging require a tissue sample to be acquired and sent to pathology for further analysis to determine if they are tumors or benign. In the case of tumors, the tumor type can be determined through this tissue sampling. The results help your team of doctors determine the most appropriate course of treatment for you. In many cases, an open surgical biopsy can be avoided. Using various imaging technologies, biopsies can be obtained via a needle quickly and safely without the need for surgery.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is one interventional radiology procedure that can benefit certain patients with bone, breast, kidney, liver, or lung cancer. Interventional radiologists use great precision to place the tip of a needle into the center of a tumor. The RFA technology destroys the tumor cells while sparing healthy tissue around it. Depending upon the type of tumor, RFA can help reduce pain, improve quality of life, and provide treatment options for inoperable cancers.
Chemoembolization is another effective interventional radiology cancer therapy. It can be used for certain liver tumors that are either too large to effectively treat with RFA or located in a position inaccessible to the RFA needle. Our physician places a small catheter into the blood vessels that supply the tumor and subsequently deliver a very potent dose of chemotherapy drugs. In addition to delivering chemotherapy into the tumor, additional compounds are administered to stop the flow of blood to the tumor once the drugs are delivered. Depending upon the type of cancer, chemoembolization can help reduce pain and improve quality of life.
Society of Interventional Radiology, Virginia Interventional and Vascular Associates
Cryoablation is similar to RFA in that the energy is delivered directly into the tumor by a probe that is inserted through the skin. But rather than killing the tumor with heat, cryoablation uses an extremely cold gas to freeze it. This technique has been used for many years by surgeons in the operating room, but in the last few years, the needles have become small enough to be used by interventional radiologists through a small nick in the skin without the need for an operation. The “ice ball” that is created around the needle grows in size and destroys the frozen tumor cells.