Freeze therapy cure for lung cancer
Doctorsareusing a probe that freezes tumours at temperature of -190 C to treat lung cancer in patients who otherwise could not have surgery.Normally surgeons aim to cut out the cancer but this is not always possible , for example if the patient is frail.
|Using a special probe that turns the tumour into an ice-ball, surgeons at the Harefield Hospital in |Middlesex have successfully treated 16 patients .Seven of these had the operation over a year ago and are still disease free.
Omar Malwand , the surgeon who carried out the operations, said about 2,000 lung cancer patients a year in the UK would be eligible for this treatment .Removal of the lung is the treatment of choice for patients with early stage lung cancer.However, for about 20% of these patients removing the diseased lung is not an option as it leaves them with severe breathing problems and a poor quality of life.
|The cryosurgery procedure involves making a cut of about 12cm in the chest wall so the probe can be advanced directly onto the tumour.
Liquid nitrogen is used as a coolant to freeze the tumour, which then disintegrates within the body over the next three to six month-which thescientists do notthink is dangerous , with patients so farhaving good results
|The surgery is less invasive than the conventional way and the recovery time is typically shorter—patients treated with the direct pulmonary cryosurgery can go home after four days.
Cryosurgery is not a new technique and has been used on other organs and tissues in the body.
|However, the Harefield team believe they are the first to use it in this way to treat lung cancer and say the results so far are extremely encouraging .
|Freezing the tumour is farless damaging to the lung.The ideal patient is one who has early cancer but with poor lung function, said Maiwand.
Dr Slow Ming Lee , lung cancer expert from Cancer Research UK,said :This is a fascinating new approach for patients who are not considered suitable forsurgery because their tumours are more advanced than expected. However this was a small study and further studies are needed to clarify the role of direct cryosurgery versus the conventional approach of radiotherapy and chemotherapy , before it can be recommended for patients whose tumours are found to be inoperable.