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Study tests tool vs. lung cancer


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http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ ... 1056/COL02

Francis Schlueter wants to know whether a technique that kills cancer in the liver and kidneys also works on lung tumors.

Schlueter, a radiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Clifton, is recruiting lung cancer patients who aren't healthy enough for surgical treatment for a national study looking at the effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation, or RFA, to treat the disease.

Good Samaritan is the only Greater Cincinnati site participating in the National Cancer Institute-sponsored study looking at how effective RFA is in treating Stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer, which makes up 90 percent of lung cancers.

For the study, Schlueter will deliver radio waves through a needle to the tumor. The radio waves will burn away cancerous cells.

Patients will be sedated, but won't need general anesthesia, Schlueter said.

Surgical removal of cancerous tumors remains the "gold standard" for treating lung cancer, he said, but some patients just aren't strong enough to undergo a major incision or general anesthesia.

This year, about 213,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer, and about 160,000 will die from it. About 40 percent of people are alive one year after learning they have lung cancer.

"The survival rate for lung cancer hasn't changed much in the last 20 years," Schlueter said.

Part of the problem is that the disease is often detected only after it has spread to another part of the body or is too advanced to respond well to treatment.

In the case of lung cancer, which is primarily linked to smoking, patients might also have emphysema or another type of lung disease, which makes them poor candidates for surgery.

Donald Pennekamp, 73, of Delhi Township, underwent RFA on Oct. 17 to treat a tumor on his lung.

"My doctor said it was the easiest way to treat it," Pennekamp said. "It was a relief ... he'd pretty much have to take my lung out to get the tumor out of there."

In Pennekamp's case, the tumor had traveled from his colon to his lung; he'd been treated for colon cancer a few years before and thought he'd beaten it, but it reappeared in his left lung.

RFA is a good option for cancers that might appear in several spots in an organ, not uncommon with lung cancer, Schlueter said.

The procedure is also good for cancers that tend to keep coming back, including lung and liver cancers, he said.

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