Treating cancer without using surgery

Hearing you have cancer is never a good thing, but finding out you can have it treated with no surgery or stitches is great news for patients who cannot undergo surgery.

Tumor ablation is destroying tumors and getting patients home the same day.

Jesse Carlson has been battling ovarian cancer for four years.

"It's been a journey and then recently there was a CAT scan and they found a spot on my liver,” says Carlson.

Still undergoing monthly chemo because of the ovarian cancer, Carlson decided to fight this newest setback head on.

She is thankful to be the first person in Indiana to have her tumor treated with a minimally invasive procedure that did not involve surgery. It is called tumor ablation.

If you think about how your microwave oven cooks, from the inside out, it is much the same.

“We placed it directly into the tumor with microwave and CT. We can see exactly where to go with that antenna, and then we turn on the needle and the needle emits energy deposits into the tumor and heats up the tumor and then cooks it, basically," says Dr. Sandra Roland, an interventional radiologist with X-Ray Consultants, Inc.

Since Carlson’s tumor was close to a blood vessel, surgery was not an option. Instead, a thin needle-like probe was placed in the center of the tumor.

"It's destroying the tumor; it's destroying the cells, without taking it out,” explains Dr. Roland.

Carlson is thrilled with the outcome.

"It was a piece of cake, I'm not kidding and I want people to know that,” says Carlson. “I’m very fortunate and very thankful it’s gone.”

Dr. Roland says surgery is still the first line of defense in removing cancer, but tumor ablation is a great alternative for people like Carlson, who cannot have surgery.

She says Carlson will be closely watched and if the cancer on her liver comes back, they can zap it again.

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