Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New breast cancer procedure freezes tumors into balls of ice which kills harmful tissue

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 10th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Surgery for breast cancer may soon be a thing of the past, if a radical new approach is proven successful by medical researchers. Called "Cryoblation," the startling new technique destroys tumors by freezing them with a super-cooled needle tip. The needle is repeatedly inserted into the cancerous tissue to turn it into a ball of ice, before it is then defrosted, leaving the tumor damaged.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The new procedure doesn't even require anesthetic. The technique can be completed in about 15 minutes and provide a better alternative to the current method of surgery, which requires women to stay in the hospital for up to a week, and frequently leaves scars.

Thirty breast cancer patients are currently trialing the system, which uses a needle cooled to minus 274 Fahrenheit by pumping liquid nitrogen through a network of tiny tubes.

The surgeon can then control the size of the "ice ball" produced to ensure it freezes the entire tumor.

Scientists from the Israel-based company IceCure Medical, which developed says the procedure can be performed on cancerous masses up to the size of a golf ball.

"There have been attempts before to use heat to destroy cancer cells like this, but that can be extremely painful because our bodies are very sensitive to heat," chief executive Hezi Himmelfarb told journalists.

"Cold has an anaesthetizing effect, so the patients feel very little pain during or after the procedure.

"We have developed the system so it can be carried out in a normal doctors' surgery as it is minimally invasive and relatively quick."

If proven successful, it would prove to be a boon to the 50,000 women annually diagnosed in the U.K. with breast cancer. Around 39,000 lumpectomies are carried out annually, which involves the surgical removal of a lump from the breast.

Sadly, one in five women needs further surgery after a lumpectomy, because not all the cancerous tissue is removed.

The device has already been approved for use in the United States and IceCure is hopeful of getting European approval next year. Scientists believe cryoablation could also be used to treat kidney, prostate and liver cancer.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)