What is tumour ablation?
Tumour ablation involves treatments that destroy cancer cells using:
heat (radiofrequency or microwave ablation)
Doctors sometimes use these to treat small, very early-stage lung cancers.
Who is a candidate for percutaneous lung cancer ablation?
It is usually only used in people with small, early-stage lung cancers if:
surgery is not suitable
they choose not to have surgery.
Some people have it at the same time as radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Before having an ablation procedure, you may have a local anaesthetic and sedative to make you sleepy. Some people have a general anaesthetic. You may need to stay in the hospital overnight to have the treatment.
You might have one or more treatment session.
How is lung cancer ablation done?
The doctor puts a needle into the tumour, usually using a CT scan to make sure it is in the right place. Depending on the specialized needle, the needles then either heat up or cool down. The needles then reach a temperature that destroys (ablates) the tumor cells.
It is common to have some pain or discomfort after having ablation. You will be given painkillers to control this. You may also feel tired afterwards.
Pulmonary ablation is now an accepted treatment for lung metastases and some lung primary tumors. There is growing evidence of its efficacy, particularly in those patients with oligometastatic disease and survival in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with ablation seems better than when patients are treated with chemotherapy alone. The key to successful treatment depends upon patient selection.
The above information is not all inclusive of the risks, alternatives and benefits. It is not meant to be a substitute for informed discussion between you and your doctor, but can act as a starting point for such a discussion. There are complications possible with any medical procedure. Overall, minimally invasive procedures have a lower complication rate than open surgeries.