Today, liver cancer and lung cancer are major illnesses for Thai people; this does not include other types of cancers that may have spread to the liver and lungs. Only a small number of patients will be suitable for surgical treatments. Patients who are unsuitable may be due to lack of time needed for successful outcomes of surgery, or being physically unfit for surgery. Luckily in the past 20 years there have been significant developments in the medical community with regards to cancer care. This includes developments in ablation, chemotherapy, and medication. In the past 5 years there have been attempts to develop non-surgical treatments that offer the same benefits as surgery. This includes brachytherapy with the assistance of x-rays and ultrasound. Once the medical device is inserted in the desired position, your doctor may decide to provide other treatment methods such as RF Ablation.
Radiofrequency ablation for cancer is a minimally invasive procedure that uses electrical energy and heat to destroy cancer cells. During radiofrequency ablation for cancer, imaging tests are used to guide a thin needle through the skin or through an incision and into the cancer tissue. High-frequency energy passes through the needle and causes the surrounding tissue to heat up, killing the nearby cells. RF is used for tumors in the liver that are no larger than 4 centimeters, and number less than 4 at a time, it can also be applied to tumors in the lung that are no larger than 3 centimeters. Furthermore, in cases where surgery is preferably avoided RF ablation can be used to treat tumors in the kidney, endocrine gland, and bone.
Advantages of RF include:
- Avoid surgical treatment and as such avoid anesthesia
- Minimally invasive – small scars
- Patients only need to spend 1-2 days in the hospital before being able to return to daily activities
- Less chance of complications compared to surgery
- Reduces chances of bleeding or uncessary tissue destruction especially in the case of liver tumor
- The chances of hemmorhagin is at 3% (and most will stop by themselves)
- Mostly requires one session, however some cases may require more
- RF ablation is particularly effective in treatment of liver and lung cancer
Liver Cancer Treatment with RF Ablation
Liver cancer or tumor often makes it difficult for surgery, as there are numerous complications that may occur such as cirrhosis or hepatitis. Most effective treatments involve insertion of chemotherapy medication intravenously. Presently treatments of tumors smaller than 4-5 centimeters that are inoperable are done through RF ablation.
RF ablation is a treatment that uses imaging guidance to place a needle electrode through the skin into a liver tumor. High-frequency electrical currents are passed through the electrode, creating heat that destroys the cancer cells. At 100 degrees Celsius, the procedure should take approximately 20-40 minutes (depending on size and quantity of tumor). The advantage of RF ablation is that it does not require surgery, and very small amounts of medication such as low quantities of anesthesia. Today it is used to treat liver cancer, or cancers that have spread to the liver, and lung cancer. RF Ablation at Wattanosoth Hospital is provided by specialized radiologist, oncologists, and doctors specialized in Gastroenterology.
Lung Cancer Treatment with RF Ablation
Lung cancer is the most common cancer in Thailand, despite numerous developments in medical technology early detection can still prove difficult. Surgical treatment is the best option for lung cancer treatment; however it may be required in conjunction with other forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. Patients who are unsuitable for surgery have access to alternative techniques such as endoscopic treatment for early-lung cancer. A newer technique is RF ablation, which refers to treatment that uses imaging guidance to place a needle electrode through the skin into a liver tumor. High-frequency electrical currents are passed through the electrode, creating heat that destroys the cancer cells. RF ablation can be applied to tumors found in the lung area that are no more than 4 centimeters in size and are found at less than 3 locations at a time. RF ablation may be used as treatment alongside external beam therapy, or chemotherapy.