Thanks to interventional radiology, cancer patients have many more choices when it comes to their care. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are now used in combination with other cancer-fighting treatments and therapies to improve quality of life.
- Chemoembolization - This new technique allows physicians to deliver chemotherapy directly into the blood vessels that feed a malignant tumor. Primarily used for liver cancer, the agents destroy or contain the targeted tumor while preserving surrounding tissue. Chemoembolization can be substantially more effective than traditional chemotherapy for some patients, permitting larger doses of medication, sparing healthy cells, reducing side effects and prolonging survival for those in need of liver transplants. Patients are typically admitted to the hospital overnight and go home the next day.
- Tumor Ablation - Representing another exciting advance, interventional radiology techniques utilize extreme heat or cold to kill cancer. An image-guided probe delivers radio-frequency or another source of energy to the tumor, essentially freezing or burning the cancer cells away.
- Needle Biopsy - Most tumors are now evaluated by needle biopsy rather than surgery. Ultrasound, x-ray or another imaging device locates the exact site of the tumor so the interventional radiologist can extract a small tissue sample with a fine needle. This method is often used to test abnormalities of the breast, lung and other areas of the body.
- Insertion/Removal of Chest Ports - Interventional radiologists help patients undergoing chemotherapy or other infusion treatments by implanting a chest port (a thin, plastic tube) in a vein just below the skin's surface. This prevents the need for frequent needle pricks in their arms as medicines are administered directly into the vein, and blood samples are easily withdrawn. The port is removed when treatments have been completed.
- Insertion/Removal of Inferior Vena Cava Filters - With the assistance of imaging guidance, a filter is placed in the inferior vena cava, the large vein in the abdomen. The filter traps and prevents blood clots from traveling from the legs to the heart and lungs, thereby reducing chances of a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. This intervention is often used for patients diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), as well as surgical patients and others at risk for developing blood clots.
- Palliative Therapy - In addition to curative treatments, some procedures are used primarily to reduce pain and alleviate symptoms, such as the insertion of drainage tubes.
For more information about these services or to schedule a consultation, call our CVIL at (973) 831-5352.