New Ice Treatment Can Kill Breast Cancer Tumors

New Ice Treatment Can Kill Breast Cancer Tumors

A new technique that freezes and destroys small cancerous tumors may offer new hope to women with breast cancer who cannot have surgery. 

Cryoablation uses an ultrasound or a computed tomography (CT) scan to locate tumors. Small, needle-like probes are then inserted into the breast to create an ice ball around the tumors that kills the cancer cells, say doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

The study involved 60 patients who were not candidates for surgery, or who refused surgery after meeting with a breast surgeon, because of age, heart issues, high blood pressure , or because they were having chemotherapy for another cancer.

The size of the tumors ranged from 0.3 to 9 centimeters with an average size of 2.5 centimeters. Multiple probes were used for tumors larger than 1.4 centimeters. Sixteen months later, the recurrence rate was 10%, the study said.

“For patients who have larger tumors but can’t undergo surgery, this approach could be more effective than the current standard of care for patients who are not surgical candidates,” Yolanda Bryce, MD, an interventional radiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said in a news release. “When treated with only radiation and hormonal therapy, tumors will eventually return. So, the fact that we saw only a 10% recurrence rate in our study is incredibly promising.” 

“Surgery is still the best option for tumor removal, but there are thousands of women who, for various reasons, cannot have surgery,” Bryce said. “We are optimistic that this can give more women hope on their treatment journeys.”

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Bryce told Fox News that the biggest risk of the procedure is “skin freezer burn,” which can be treated with a skin ointment and pain controls.

The doctors recently presented the results of their research at the Society of Interventional Radiology Annual Scientific Meeting in Salt Lake City.


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