Could freezing breast cancer tumors be a viable alternative to breast cancer surgery? Possibly. A procedure called cryoablation (a process that uses extreme cold to destroy or damage tissue) has been used for years to treat both malignant tumors (in lung, prostate, kidney & liver cancers) and other benign tumors. Now, some experts believe that cryoablation may also have the potential to replace surgery for some breast cancer patients.
Here’s how it works…
In cryoablation, a needle that has been cooled to -274F (-170C ) with liquid nitrogen is repeatedly inserted into cancerous tissue. The cancerous tumor turns into a “ball of ice”. As it defrosts, the cancerous tumor is destroyed. The procedure only takes about 15 minutes to perform, requires no general anesthesia, and can be done on an outpatient basis with minimal scarring. Researchers say that they can use cryoablation to target tumors up to the size of a golf ball.
Using cryoablation therapy to treat breast cancer is currently in clinical trial:
- ClinicalTrials.gov lists a phase 2 clinical trial studying how well cryoablation therapy works in treating patients with invasive ductal breast cancer. Click HERE for more info. This trial is currently recruiting patients. (For additional information, also visit Sanarus, the maker of the cryoablation equipment used in this study).
- There is also a clinical trial in Japan underway for patients with early stage breast cancer being treated with cryoablation therapy. (For additional information, visit IceCure Medical, the maker of cryoablation equipment for this study.)