Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell)

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Treating Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell TOPICS

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for non-small cell lung cancer

This technique might be an option for some small lung tumors that are near the outer edge of the lungs, especially in people who can’t tolerate surgery. It uses high-energy radio waves to heat the tumor. A thin, needle-like probe is placed through the skin and moved along until the end is in the tumor. Placement of the probe is guided by CT scans. Once it is in place, an electric current is passed through the probe, which heats the tumor and destroys the cancer cells.

RFA is usually done as an outpatient procedure, using local anesthesia (numbing medicine) where the probe is inserted. You may be given medicine to help you relax as well.

Major complications are uncommon, but they can include the partial collapse of a lung (which often resolves on its own) or bleeding into the lung.

Last Medical Review: 08/15/2014
Last Revised: 03/04/2015