Interventional radiology plays a role in the treatment of various types of cancer, including:
Liver cancer (primary and metastatic)
IR also helps alleviate the pain caused by certain cancers that have metastasized (spread) to the bones without surgery, as well as stabilize bones that have been weakened by metastatic cancer. We treat spine fractures, for example, with cement injection called kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty.
Some diseases have a similar appearance on imaging studies such as a Cat scan. Differentiating between benign (not cancer) and malignant (cancer) conditions is essential for determining the best course of treatment, and IR can help to diagnose or exclude cancer. IR also is used to treat cancer in a number of ways. When a patient requires repeated doses of chemotherapy by injection, for example, doctors may recommend the placement of a port or catheter (flexible tubing) to reduce the number of needle sticks. Interventional radiologists commonly perform image-guided placement of these ports and catheters. This is a less invasive alternative to surgical placement of the devices.
IR can be used to deliver chemotherapy and radiotherapy directly to a tumor via transcatheter chemoembolization. This is particularly useful in patients with primary liver cancer and those with certain types of cancer that have metastasized (spread) to the liver.
IR is used to destroy tumors with radiofrequency energy that uses either heat or a freezing technique that causes the cancerous tissue to die. Both procedures are performed under conscious sedation, and require only an overnight hospital stay.