Cryotherapy for Lung Cancer
Due to the complicated position, surgery usually is not practicable to lung tumors around the great vessel of the heart. On the other hand, single chemotherapy or radiotherapy seems impossible to remove the cancer cells completely. Even patients finished chemotherapy or radiotherapy, many of them still cannot have the growing cancer controlled. What is worse, many aged or weak patients cannot stand the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Although there are many advanced radiotherapy devices, gamma knife for instance, they are still some kind of radiotherapy, to which some cancer cells may not be very sensitive, not to mention the high cost.
Cryotherapy is a kind of physical therapy. No cancer cells can survive the temperature alternating between -160 ℃ and 38℃, and that is how the well-known cryotherapy works. This therapy allows many “knives (up to 15 needles) working at the same time, so it is also practicable to tumors above 10cm. Unlike radiotherapy, it does not cause much harm to patients, and can be performed repeatedly.
Cryotherapy is a recently invented high-tech therapy with both ultra-low temperature and thermal effect function. It is approved by FDA to be used in cancer treatment. Therapy of this kind with multi-probe, high accuracy and capacity of rapid alternation between ultra-low and high temperature makes it a reality to treat cancer with ultra-low temperature.
During the operation, the surgeon punctures the needles into the tumor under CT guidance. The temperature in central cancer then will drop to -160℃ in less than one minute and freeze the cancer into an ice ball. After certain time, the temperature of the central tumor increases to 20℃-43℃ when the needles release helium. Alternating two times in this way will destroy the cancer cells.
Cryosurgical technique is characterized with minimal trauma, fewer complications and other features. It is a new option for cancer patients at middle or advanced stage. For aged lung cancer patients and those who with poor lung function and cannot tolerate thoracotomy or had failed treatment, cryotherapy can achieve the purpose of palliative resection of tumors, thus it reduce patients’ burden of tumor, improve their life quality and prolong their lives.
Specialist Dr. Peng Xiaochi of Modern Hospital Guangzhou indicated that cryotherapy is a kind of minimally invasive treatment. It causes less bleeding and has its unique advantages in treating lung cancer.
First of all, the treatment effect of cryotherapy is definite. It causes death of cancer cells wherever it reaches. Secondly, it is a kind of physical treatment and barely has side effect. Thirdly, it is easy to recover after operation. One treatment usually takes only 2 hours. Patients can discharge after 3-5 days of observation, so their hospitalization is shorten and their non-treatment expense is reduced.
Cancer is a systemic disease with high potential of relapse and metastasis. Even it is completely removed with surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy is often required to enhance the treatment effect. It is proved that cryotherapy can improve cancer’s sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, so as to improve their treatment effect.
Dr. Peng reminds that, cryotherapy is not universally powerful. It is to be chosen according to the nature, size and location of the cancer. By combining with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other medicine, cryotherapy can gain the best treatment effect in killing cancer cells, relieving patients’ symptoms and prolonging their lives.