Interventional Oncology

Minimal invasive techniques in cancer treatments.

By Vishal Ingole, Medical Research EditorLast modified: October 04, 2011

Interventional Oncology

An oncologist is a person who deals with the diagnosis, therapy, follow-up, and palliative care of cancer patients. An important kind of cancer treatment is interventional radiology.

Interventional Oncology Defined

Broadly speaking, oncology deals with the study and treatment of tumors. Interventional radiology is an image-guided cancer surgery procedure that helps identify, diagnose, and treat different kinds of ailments. Interventional oncology is a part of interventional oncology. With the help of interventional oncology, doctors can work on tumors without having to actually perform surgery. The main aim of interventional oncology is to ensure minimal invasive techniques in cancer treatments.

Prevalence Of Interventional Oncology

In the past 9 years alone, procedures of interventional oncology have increased by 52% and are only expected to increase in the future. Statistics indicate that currently, there are approximately 10.6 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with cancer. Of this, it is believed that there are approximately 1,000,000 cases of colorectal cancer and nearly 1,200,000 cases of breast cancer. In addition to this, many cancer patients often develop metastases. These metastases are not usually surgically removable. Interventional oncology really helps these patients.

Types Of Interventional Oncology Treatments

Interventional Oncology Treatments can broadly be categorized as Transcatheter therapies and Ablative Therapies. These two therapies are widely practiced procedures and are minimally invasive. Transcatheter therapies are catheter-based tumor treatments. There are two main treatments of this kind: TACE (Transarterial chemoembolization) and SIRT (Selective Internal Radiation Therapy). In TACE, tumor feeding vessels is embolized with embolic particles. On the other hand, with SIRT, the catheter tip is meticulously steered into the tumor feeding vessel. This procedure needs very sophisticated image-guided technologies and its precision is beneficial to patients. Ablative therapies involve precise and accurate needle placements on tumors. After the needle has been placed in the correct spot, the tumor is ablated. However, top-end 3D guidance tools are usually used for these procedures to aid needle navigation. Ablative therapies are so sophisticated now that even patients who are afraid of needles can be assured of its efficacy.

Palliative Care For Cancer Patients

Palliative care is an important component of cancer treatment. It refers to physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual assistance that is given to a person suffering from a terminal disease. Palliative care spans the diagnosis of the ailment right throughout the course of illness. It is an interdisciplinary approach and involves the health care professionals from a variety of disciplines. These could include doctors and nurses, social workers, dietitians, and pharmacists. Sometimes, priests and other religious leaders are also part of the team that provides palliative care to a patient.

Benefits Of Palliative Care

Palliative care is not the same as cure. It is often known as comfort care or supportive care. The aim of this type of care is to reduce trauma in the life of the patient. With proper palliative care, patients can enjoy the best quality of life in their current circumstances.

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