April is designated as Cancer Control Month. Cancer Control focuses on reducing the number of people who get cancer, reducing complications from cancer, and decreasing the deaths due to cancer. It uses approaches that have been tested through research to control the number of cancer cases as well as the effects of cancer. Cancer control programs work to find and use the most effective ways to:
- Prevent cancer
- Find cancer earlier
- Reduce the risk of cancer
- Improve cancer treatments
- Help more people survive cancer
- Improve the quality of life for people who have cancer 1
At our VIVA facility, we use some of the latest technologies in our efforts to help people survive a number of cancers. The procedures used by our Interventional Radiologists are less invasive, but still highly effective and have fewer negative side effects compared to traditional surgeries.
Using image guidance, our physicians can gather tissue samples of tumors, perform cancer ablations, and starve tumors of nutrients with minimally invasive procedures. Many of these treatments allow our Interventional Radiologists to treat the tumor directly without destroying the healthy tissue that surrounds it.
Some examples of the types of procedures include:
Percutaneous tumor ablation
In this relatively simple procedure, using image guidance, the physician can maneuver a needle directly into a solid tumor in the body through a tiny pinhole in the skin. This type of procedure is often used for the treatment of tumors in the lung, liver, and kidneys. After the needle is inserted into the tumor, the tumor can be treated through concentrated microwaves that heat and destroy or frozen into a ball of ice providing the same outcome.
Another technique that is used less frequently is to inject the site with pure ethyl alcohol. This will also result in tumor death. The tumors targeted with this method are typically smaller and more superficial.
An alternative cutting-edge procedure involves starving the artery or arteries that supply the tumor at hand. In addition to starving the tumor, chemotherapy can be directly concentrated into the tumor site through that same artery. Trans-Arterial Chemoembolization (TACE) allows minimal damage to the body overall by using this highly targeted approach. Because the chemotherapy is concentrated into the tumor our patients can avoid many of the usual side effects of usual chemotherapy such as nausea and fatigue. This approach is commonly used for tumors within the liver.
This method uses a radiopharmaceutical isotope in the form of glass or plastic beads that are infused into the tumor by using the tumor’s blood supply as a pathway. This results in internal radiation therapy for the tumor, minimizing the radiation effects on the surrounding healthy tissues. This is highly effective for controlling and shrinking tumors in the liver.
At VIVA, we walk with you from the very beginning of your journey with cancer and we strive to give you and your loved ones hope for a good outcome.
1Souce: American Cancer Society Web site: https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/what-is-cancer-control.html