Pancreatic Cancer Overview

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Treating Pancreatic Cancer TOPICS

Ablative methods for pancreatic cancer

Other types of surgery, called ablative techniques, may be used to treat areas of spread (metastases) from pancreatic cancer. Ablation is treatment that removes or destroys all or part of a cancer This is an option when only a few metastases are present. By treating the metastases, symptoms can improve and the patient may live longer.

Radiofrequency ablation: In radiofrequency ablation (RFA) a probe (like a needle) is put into the tumor. Then radio waves are used to heat and destroy tissues, such as areas of cancer spread.

Microwave thermotherapy: This approach is much like RFA except that microwaves are used to heat and destroy the cancer.

Cryosurgery: In cryosurgery, a probe is put right into the tumor to freeze the tissue with liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide. The area being frozen is destroyed. This method is also known as cryoablation.

Embolization: For an embolization, a catheter is used to find the blood vessel feeding the tumor. Then a substance is put into the blood vessel, cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. This kills the tumor. The substance used can be tiny beads (called microspheres). Sometimes the beads used are radioactive. The catheter can also be used to put in chemotherapy drugs. This is called chemoembolization

Last Medical Review: 02/15/2013
Last Revised: 02/03/2014