Interventional Cancer Therapy is the Fourth Leg of Cancer Treatment...
What first comes to mind with a diagnosis of cancer is chemotherapy or as some say (poison). Surgery (cut)..and radiation therapy (burn)...Why is it Interventional radiology oncology is always the last for the patient to know about unless they are seekers of truth?
Well it has often been said I should have been an attorney that is an advocate for the public. I do not take it personally should you not choose my position in cancer therapy I just want you to know you have choices. There are may different cancers and different approaches to each depending on the organ associated with the cancer..
My focus is on organ specific therapy such as liver, kidney, lung, breast, bone and maybe even possibly pancreas.
I am not sure why we cannot all learn to play in the sandbox together and view the patient as the goal. An analogy would be co-parenting children so the best outcome is at hand. This is not a custody battle.
The usual scenario goes like this... you see your doctor because you are not feeling well. Some lab tests are ordered and most likely a radiology imaging study such as a CT scan. The diagnostic radiologist reads your study and lets your doctor know there is something wrong such as a mass or tumor.
As an interventional radiologist I use image guidance to biopsy the tumor. Sometimes we even take extra tissue for genomic testing (sequencing genes from the cancer to extract DNA) which identifies mutations that drive the tumor's growth. Other reasons to remove more cancer tissue is to determine the appropriate chemotherapy that the tumor will be sensitive to. Boy this is nice for once you are treated in an individualized personalized manner.
Some cancers are amenable to surgical removal and some are not. This is where interventional oncology comes into play. For example if you have a tumor in the liver which is close to a blood vessel or bile duct we can deliver a catheter directly into the tumor blood vessels and kill the tumor with either small amounts of chemotherapy, radiation particles and beads which cut off the blood supply to the tumor. This starves the tumor of oxygen and nutrients. So what happens the tumor starts to die and shrink. This form of treatment may assist the surgeon in resecting the tumor in the immediate future or as we have often seen today the patient may experience a "cure".
I like the integrative approach which is very similar to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I treat the whole patient. The spirit, soul and physical body as they are not separate but tightly knit and integrated.
Cancer is no respecter of a person and is disease which must be fought fiercely in order to achieve success.
5+4=9 and so does 6+3=9. What does this mean? There are many ways to treat cancer if you know what you are dealing with. Every cancer cell draws on glucose (sugar) for energy. The cancer cell is so clever if you even starve the cancer it goes into a "fermentation" or basic survival mode to create glucose in other ways called anaerobic glycolysis. The cancer cell will even communicate with normal cells and steal from them.
Wise lifestyle choices..healthy rainbow colored foods, exercise, reduce stress..life is too short so enjoy each day and try to love as much as you can. Stay away from negativity. Studies have also shown people who pray and are prayed for are more likely to survive and heal.meditate, pray, laugh and love...
Ok now let's talk about different kinds of cancer and how we as interventional radiologists oncologists can be part of the treatment process...
I spoke earlier about liver cancer. There are two types:
primary-cancer formed in the liver and
metastatic liver cancer..cancer spread to the liver from another organ such as the colon.
If you have multiple tumors in your liver your surgeon and oncologist will tell you; you are not a surgical candidate. All we can offer is chemotherapy.
I am here to say we can with place the catheter directly in the artery feeding the tumor and either place small amounts of chemotherapy (chemoembolization) followed by particles which block the blood vessels so they no longer are supplied with oxygen and nutrients. We can also place radiation particles (radioembolization) into the blood vessels feeding the tumor and block with particles. Lastly, if the tumor is well-defined (not blending into the liver tissue) we can place probes to superheat with either microwave or radiofrequency and kill the tumors.
Your stay in the hospital is one day overnight with "chemoembolization". You can go home that day with radioembolization or thermal ablation (super heating the tumor).