A new method to treat cancer and tumor metastases in liver and lungs has been put to use by Russian surgeons. Though the method also involves surgery, it has little to do with an open surgical operation. The most important thing about the new method is its effectiveness for those patients who cant undergo a real surgical operation.

Removing the malignant tumors to the maximum by surgery was always the most important part of the treatment of cancer. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other therapies are used in most cases aside from an operation. The removal of a malignant growth is the main objective of oncology. However, its not always possible to perform operations on such organs as liver or lungs. Only one of five tumors can be removed in case of a liver cancer. Only 40 percent of tumors can be taken off during a metastasis of other kinds of cancer in the liver. Many patients just cant be operated due to a number of reasons.

The reasons varied from a patient age to his condition to an uncomfortable location of a tumor and a high probability of grave complications etc. At times an operation denied meant a death verdict because metastases in the liver were regarded as cancer of the 4th degree on which chemotherapy has very little effect.

Thats why the surgeons at the Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery were so enthusiastic about the new foreign technique in the treatment of cancer . Its called the radio-frequency ablation (removal) and thought to be the most advanced method to date. They were the first Russian medical team which tested it by experiment and put it to medical practice. Academician Vladimir Fedorov, the Vishnevski Institutes director, offered his active support to their work.

Every year brings about more than 8,000 cases of liver cancer in Russia, says Professor Vladimir Vishnevsky, head of surgical hepatology department of the institute. Around 10,000 people with metastases of intestinal cancer are added to the list. The liver is the most frequent target for metastases in other cancer-stricken organs. The new method could be the only way out for many patients.

Every operation on the liver involves risk. A tumor can hide between the blood vessels. The whole organ has to be opened so that it may be taken away. The danger of hemorrhage is high during the surgery. All of the above can be prevented by using the radio-frequency ablation. A special device – a radio-frequency generator – is used for identifying exact location of a tumor and then a thin wave guide tipped with an emitter of radio waves goes into action. The technique can be performed either on the skin or by means of a endoscope inserted in a small incision. It can also be used during an open operation.

Charged ions and some molecules of the cancerous cells with the same oscillation frequency as the radio waves get heated when emitted by them. The effect is similar to that of a microwave oven. A tumor is specifically targeted. Temperatures in the cancerous cells rise to 80-90 causing their destruction. The procedure lasts from 12 to 15 minutes depending on a tumor size. Its performed under control of an ultrasound examination machine.

The method has the same efficiency rate as a radical operation, says Anatoly Gavrilin, senior researcher of the ultrasonic diagnostics. Its a lot less invasive, has a higher effectiveness and tolerance rate. We can avoid performing open operations in some cases. We can also save lives or give a few years to those who cant be operated in a regular way. And last but not least, the method is much more cheaper than other available methods of cancer treatment.

More than 30 patients have been also treated using the new technique. More than 100 malignant tumors were removed. The researchers intend to use the radio-frequency ablation for destruciton of tumors in other body parts including kidneys, adrenal and thyroid glands and even some bones.

.. - NEKTO 2009.

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