Less invasive procedure destroyed all cancer cells when tumor was 1 centimeter or less.

o-NEW-YORK-TIMES-570Interesting new technique.  Here’s my concern…. when I was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in Situ), they identified one area.  Post mastectomy and upon analysis of the tissue removed, they found other DCIS cells not previously identified.

Had we simply ‘frozen’ the identified cells, I would have ended up having breast cancer again…either more DCIS or it might have progressed to another stage.  This is not a ‘sure thing’ yet, so proceed with caution.

“A tumor-freezing technique might offer a reasonable alternative to surgery for some women with early stage breast cancer, a preliminary study suggests.

The research, to be reported Wednesday at the American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting in Las Vegas, looked at a treatment called cryoablation. The approach, also called cryotherapy, uses substances such as liquid nitrogen or argon gas to freeze and destroy cancer cells.

Cryoablation is already an option for benign breast tumors called fibroadenomas, and for certain cancers — including some cases of skin, prostate and liver cancers. But researchers are just beginning to look into its potential for breast cancer.

The new study included 86 women with early stage invasive ductal breast cancer — which means the cancer had begun to invade the fatty tissue around the milk ducts.

The standard treatment is to surgically remove the cancer, usually followed by radiation. And it’s very effective; the five-year survival rate for stage 1 breast cancer is 100 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Still, some researchers want to find less invasive treatments — especially since breast cancer screening often finds tiny tumors, explained study author Dr. Rache Simmons.

Cryoablation fits the “less invasive” bill: A surgeon inserts a thin probe through a small incision in the skin, and then — guided by ultrasound — targets and freezes the tumor.

There are potential advantages of cryoablation over conventional surgery, according to Simmons, who is chief of breast surgery at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

For one, it can be done with local anesthesia, and it avoids the pain and hospital stay that comes with surgery. “Cryoablation lends itself very well to the outpatient setting,” Simmons said.

And afterward, she noted, there’s no surgical scar.

But cryoablation also has to work. To put it to a preliminary test, Simmons and her colleagues treated all of their study patients with the procedure, then looked at the immediate results.

Overall, the treatment was only moderately successful: It got rid of all evidence of the cancer in 69 percent of the women. The rest of the women still had some “residual” cancer.

However, Simmons said, the treatment was “100 percent effective” in a subset of women with the smallest tumors — about 1 centimeter or less. So it’s possible that for those women, cryoablation could be a new option.

An expert not involved in the study urged caution, however. “We already have a very good treatment” in conventional surgery, said Dr. Subhakar Mutyala, associate director of the Scott & White Cancer Institute in Temple, Texas.

He noted that even when women are not able to have major surgery, minimally invasive surgery — which uses small incisions — may be an option.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Leni
    May 01, 2014 @ 21:41:28

    I don’t know if I’d opt for a 69% success rate. Hopefully, it will evolve to be better

    Reply

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