INTERVENTIONS IN CANCER PATIENTS: Overview
Interventional radiology techniques typically represent the least invasive but definitive diagnostic or therapeutic options available for patients with cancer.
Many interventional radiology procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis or during a short hospital stay. Consequently, these procedures tend to be less expensive than other forms of therapy and frequently are associated with less risk and procedure related complications, while giving equivalent results.
A) RADIO – FREQUENCY ABLATION ( RFA )
RFA is a non-surgical, localized treatment that destroys the tumor cells without harming the healthy tissues. It is used to treat cancers in the liver, lung, kidney and bone. This is a safe and effective procedure with minimal side effects and excellent results.
The interventional radiologist inserts a small needle through the skin into the tumor. From the generator, radiofrequency energy is transmitted to the tip of the needle, where it produces heat in the tissues and destroys it. Depending upon the size of the tumor, RFA shrinks/kills the tumor, thereby improving the patients’ quality of life. The dead tumor then shrinks and slowly forms a scar.
The placement of the probe is guided by CT/ultrasound so that precise localisation is achieved and there is minimal damage to adjacent tissue. This reduces the chance of side effects and ensures faster recovery. This treatment is easier on the patient than the conventional methods and most people can resume their routine activities.
RFA can also be used to treat benign conditions like osteoid osteoma( type of bone tumor ) and it is very effective in alleviation of pain that is almost always associated with this condition. It is safe and effective procedure and can spare the patient from the debilitating surgery.
RFA can also be used to treat benign conditions like osteoid osteoma( type of bone tumor). It is effective in alleviating pain and improving condition of the patient. Primarily it is a day care procedure.
B) TRANSARTERIAL CHEMO EMBOLISATION ( TACE )
It is a therapy used for treating malignant liver lesions especially when the disease has spread through the liver.
The procedure involves injecting anti-cancer drugs with small sponge particles into the artery that supplies the tumor. It is a direct delivery technique so a lower dose of anti cancer drug is needed when the agent is delivered through the veins. This procedure almost eliminates the side effects of chemotherapy.
The concurrent injection of sponge particles cuts off the blood supply to the tumor that not only has an ischemic effect on the tumor itself, but also prolongs the time of chemotherapeutic agent with tumor cells. Patients who undergo transcatheter chemoembolization typically stay in hospital for only one day.
C) RADIO EMBOLISATION ( Yttrium 90 therapy )
Overview-Radioembolisation is a latest technique of intra-arterial radiotherapy. A strong dose of radiation therapy is delivered directly to the tumor through the blood vessels that supply the tumor. This procedure can be carried out even if there is extensive disease in the liver and/or the functioning of the liver is very suboptimal.
It is useful even in large or multifocal liver tumors and in patients with substantially compromised liver for whom other treatment modalities, even transarterial chemoembolisation are not an option.
The procedure involves inserting a catheter in the blood vessels which supply the tumor and then injecting radioactive particles in these blood vessels. These microspheres get embedded in small blood vessels inside the tumor and emit beta particles (radiation), which treat the tumor.
Since the average penetration of a beta particle is only 2 mm, the radiation therapy delivered is highly targeted and is limited to the area of interest. This reduces the sometimes debilitating side effects of radiation therapy and increases the efficacy of the treatment as a larger dose of radiation can be given to the tumor.
Procedure is done in two stages requiring one day admission.