Minimally invasive cancer treatment

Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells, and can then spread to other areas of the body. Interventional radiology techniques are quickly becoming the standard therapist for cancer treatment.

Spectrum’s interventional radiologists offer a range of minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat cancer and help manage its symptoms:

  • Imaging-guided biopsies: An imaging-guided biopsy uses technology such as x-ray, ultrasound or a CT scan to guide the collection of cells or tissue for examination under a microscope. The collection process may involve a fine needle, a core needle, or a vacuum-assisted biopsy device. This procedure is a way of obtaining a biopsy sample from a suspicious area without surgery.
  • Radiofrequency (RF) ablation: RF ablation uses electrical energy and heat to destroy cancer cells. Under imaging guidance, the interventional radiologist will insert a needle through the skin into a tumor. RF energy passes through the needle, heating up and killing nearby cells. RF ablation is most often used to treat small kidney, liver, lung tumors causing pain or other discomfort, particularly when surgery isn’t an option; it’s generally not used as the primary treatment for most cancers.
  • Chemoembolization: In patients with primary or metastatic liver tumors, chemoembolization is an alternative for those who can’t undergo surgery. Under x-ray guidance, high-dose chemotherapy loaded onto tiny particles is delivered via catheter into the tumors. The particles slow blood supply to the tumor, starving it, and the high-dose chemotherapy allows for greater tumor kill. Plus, chemotherapy is delivered directly into the tumor, so there are fewer side effects than with systemic treatment.
  • Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy kills cancer cells by freezing them. Spectrum’s VIR specialists use this technique to treat kidney cancer as well as cancers that have spread to the bone. Under imaging guidance, a special needle is inserted through the skin into the affected area, delivering argon gas to chill cancer cells to below -75º Celsius. This kills the cancer cells and a small margin of surrounding tissue. Studies indicate cryotherapy is as effective as traditional surgery for treating small kidney tumors. 
  • Y90 Treatment: Radioembolization (Y90) procedure is mostly used to treat liver cancers. It uses two procedures called embolization and radiation therapy. Radiation therapy consists of using ionizing radiation to kill or shrink the tumors. Embolization is used to block blood flow in which blood vessels or vascular malformations are blocked off.


If you would like to know more about any of these procedures or schedule a consultation, simply call our Vascular & Interventional Radiology office at 207.956.6650.

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