Oncologic Interventions

Interventional oncology has been proven safe and effective in treating cancers of the liver, kidneys, lungs and bones. These highly-targeted, image-guided therapies are minimally invasive, requiring tiny incisions of less than half an inch. All procedures are either outpatient or require just one overnight hospital stay with minimal recovery time.

Cutting-edge technology in cancer treatment.

Eastern Radiologists are board-certified experts in image-guided minimally invasive interventional oncology procedures. These procedures are an important part of evidence-based cancer treatment guidelines, including those issued by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. We work closely with medical, radiation and surgical oncologists to offer multidisciplinary cancer care. These cutting-edge cancer treatments utilize the latest technology and are based on the most up-to-date scientific data. The most common procedures we perform include radioembolization, chemoembolization, ablation, and spine tumor ablation and augmentation. From curative treatments to palliative care, we’re proud to offer the latest in oncologic interventions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between curative and palliative treatment?

Curative treatments are intended to eliminate all cancer cells from the body. In certain patients, surgery and ablation can be curative. Unfortunately, most patients have cancer that is too advanced for curative treatment. In these patients, palliative treatments such as embolization, ablation and chemotherapy can slow cancer progression, improve quality of life by decreasing pain and other unpleasant symptoms, as well as potentially prolong life.

Can interventional oncology procedures be combined with other cancer therapies?

Yes. Interventional radiologists work closely with medical, radiation and surgical oncologists as part of a multidisciplinary team. Interventional oncology procedures can be performed before or after surgery (including transplant), before or after radiation therapy, and before, after or concurrently with chemotherapy. Some procedures may require temporary changes in chemotherapy.

What is radioembolization?

Radioembolization is a treatment for cancers of the liver. Interventional radiologists access a large artery in the groin and advance a catheter into arteries that supply the liver with blood (similar to a heart catheterization). Contrast is injected to identify the arteries that are supplying the liver cancer. Then, microscopic glass beads containing radioactive Yttrium-90 are infused directly into these arteries and become trapped in the microscopic blood vessels within the liver cancer. Here they emit radioactive energy directly into the liver cancer for several weeks, killing cancer cells. This allows delivery of large amounts of radiation to the liver cancer with very little radiation to other areas of the body. The result is effective treatment with mild side effects.

What is chemoembolization?

Chemoembolization is another treatment for cancers of the liver. Interventional radiologists access a large artery in the groin and advance a catheter into arteries that supply the liver with blood (similar to a heart catheterization). Contrast is injected to identify the arteries that are supplying the liver cancer. Then, microscopic beads containing a chemotherapy drug are infused directly into these arteries and become trapped in the small blood vessels supplying the liver cancer. The beads block off these blood vessels, starving the cancer cells of oxygen and other nutrients. They also slowly release the chemotherapy drug directly into the liver cancer. This allows delivery of a high dose of chemotherapy to the liver cancer with very little dose to the rest of the body. The result is effective treatment with much milder side effects than traditional chemotherapy.

What is ablation?

Ablation is a treatment for cancers of the liver, kidneys, lungs and bones. Using ultrasound and/or CT, interventional radiologists place one or more special needles through the skin directly into the tumor to deliver thermal (heat) energy. In the case of radiofrequency or microwave ablation, the tumor is heated to a very high temperature, resulting in cancer cell death. In the case of cryoablation, the tumor is cooled to a very low temperature, resulting in cancer cell death. The area of cell death is predictable, with no effect on tissue elsewhere in the body. In certain patients with small tumors, ablation has been shown to be as effective as surgical tumor removal.

What is spine tumor ablation and augmentation?

Spine tumor ablation and augmentation is a treatment for painful spine tumors and fractures related to spine tumors. Using fluoroscopy, interventional radiologists carefully advance a needle into the spine to deliver radiofrequency energy followed by medical cement. The result is local tumor destruction, pain relief and mechanical stabilization.

What is an interventional radiologist?

Interventional radiologists are specially trained physicians who use small catheters, stents and other minimally invasive devices, while watching their progress on X-ray or other imaging equipment, to diagnose and treat conditions. Typically, the interventional radiologist performs procedures through a very small nick in the skin. Interventional radiology treatments are generally better tolerated than surgery because they involve no surgical incisions, less pain and shorter hospital stays. Your interventional radiologist will work closely with your doctor or other health care provider to be sure you receive the best possible care.

Schedule an appointment.

Please have your doctor schedule your appointment for this service. If you have questions about your appointment or need to reschedule call 252.752.5000. This service is offered at the following locations:

Prepare for your appointment.

Please bring all medications to your appointment.

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