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Study-Mayo clinic - Freezing bone mets for pain relief


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Freezing bone tumors reduces pain

Source: (cancerfacts.com)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ROCHESTER, Minn.– Nov. 28, 2007 – Freezing tumors offers durable pain relief from cancer that has spread to bone according to doctors conducting a study at the Mayo Clinic.

The procedure, called cryoablation, has been used successfully to treat kidney and prostate tumors. Researchers led by Dr. Matthew Callstrom, a radiologist at Mayo Clinic presented their latest findings on using cryoablation for pain management at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting this week (Nov. 27).

"Cancer patients are living longer and we need to be able to manage their pain over a long period of time," Callstrom said in a prepared statement. "Two key parts of this study are that the reduction in pain lasts and their quality of life improves after receiving the treatment."

In this study, cryoablation was used to treat 34 patients whose primary cancers had spread to the bone. These patients either did not have success with conventional pain management treatments or refused such treatments. Of these patients, 27 (80 percent) experienced a clinically significant reduction in pain that lasted 24 weeks after undergoing the procedure.

Callstrom pointed out that cryoablation worked after other treatments failed to provide adequate pain relief and that cryoablation appears to provide long-term pain relief. Radiation therapy is considered the gold standard in pain management for patients with focal pain associated with metastatic cancer, but it provides only short-term relief for many patients or fails altogether, he says.

Callstrom recently received a $900,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute to extend the study nationwide to compare cryoablation and radiation therapy as treatment for pain associated with metastatic cancer.

The procedure calls for inserting small needle-like probes through a small incision and directing them into the tumor using ultrasound or CT imaging guidance. They then infuse a super cold gas through the catheter to the probes. The supercooled probe turns the tumor into a ball of ice.

It is a minimally invasive procedure in which only an inch long incision is required to insert the probe. Patients are usually sedated for the procedure and released 24 hours later. The recovery time is short and patients typically start experiencing pain relief within a few days to four weeks after treatment.

Patients in this study had primary cancers that included colorectal, kidney, lung, ovarian, skin and thyroid cancers, as well as tumors that arise within the sympathetic nervous system (paragangliomas).

Each year in the United States approximately 100,000 people develop cancer that spreads to the bone (metastasizes). This type of cancer causes extreme pain that often cannot be managed by narcotics or other standard treatments. New approaches in pain management are needed to help patients living longer with cancer, achieve a higher quality of life.

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