Author: Cheryl Heaton
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that relies on electrical energy to kill cancer cells without removing them with surgery. According to Cancer.Org, this technique is most effective in patients with small tumors, or when a cancer patient is not an ideal candidate for surgery.
Here are some of the most common questions about radiofrequency ablation for cancer:
1. How does radiofrequency ablation work?
A radiologist inserts a thin needle through an incision in the skin near the cancer tissue, guided by a piece of imaging equipment, such as an ultrasound or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). This thin needle is charged with high-frequency energy that heats up and kills the cancer cells.
Because it is a minimally invasive procedure, the cancer patient may not need to stay in the facility or clinic although, for some individuals, the RFA might be done in the operating room where the patient is given general anesthesia.
2. What type of cancer is most commonly treated with RFA?
Radiofrequency ablation works best against liver cancer as well as colon cancer with liver metastasis. In general, however, RFA is best for tumors with a diameter of less than one and a half inches.
Doctors usually consider RFA as an option if the patient’s tumor is quite difficult to reach with surgery or if the patient has a medical condition that will make surgery a significant risk. If a patient with liver tumors has had chemotherapy without good results, and it’s not possible to remove the tumors surgically, then an RFA may also be undertaken.
3. What can a patient expect to feel during and after the procedure?
There’s a slight pinch on the needle insertion site and the patient may feel some pressure during the insertion of the catheter in the artery or vein. The patient may also feel some discomfort on the site of the incision, but this may be dulled with an anesthetic.
However, if the doctor decides to sedate the patient, then he or she won’t feel any discomfort. Doctors may need to attach other equipment to your body to monitor your blood pressure and heart rate.
After the procedure, the patient may experience some pain in the IV or injection site, which can be managed with pain medications. Patients will have to be in the recovery room for a few hours, as they may experience nausea when the effect of the anesthesia is wearing off.
At Dr. William’s Atlanta Cancer Institute, patients are carefully screened and assessed to make sure that they are good candidates for the procedure. Our doctors also encourage patients to ask any questions they might have to clear their doubts and ensure full cooperation.
Learn more about radiofrequency ablation for cancer at William’s Cancer Institute
Dr. Jason Williams’ approach combines interventional radiology expertise with a high level of knowledge about the science of immunology, cancer, and cancer immunotherapy.
If you are looking for the most advanced and efficient form of cancer treatment, look no further. Dr. Williams is an award-winning and world-renowned physician whose contributions to the cancer field have yielded very promising results.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.