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Pulmonary Radiofrequency Ablation

Interventional Radiology

Pulmonary Radiofrequency Ablation

The regional Pulmonary Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) service offers a unique therapy option for patients with early stage lung cancer. Surgical removal of lung cancer still provides the best outcome, but many patients have compromised lung function and cannot tolerate losing part of their lung. In the past, these patients, who cannot safely have surgery, have been treated with radiation (high energy x-rays) to try to eliminate their cancer. Results from radiation alone have not been able to match those following surgery, so doctors have been investigating ways to improve the outcome. RFA is one approach that has shown promising results when combined with radiation therapy for this patient group. RFA involves using CT scan pictures to place a probe in to the lung tumor. Once the probe is in place, the treatment applicators are extended into the tissue and energy is transferred directly to burn or destroy the tumor.

Learn more about RFA.

Patients who may benefit from this combination treatment are evaluated by a team of specialist physicians. The clinic is open twice monthly in the Radiology department at Oakland Medical Center. Prior to visiting with the patients, the doctors review the medical record in detail, including pathology and radiology reports as well as the individual scans (e.g. CT and PET images). Patients then have face to face consultation with the three specialists to learn more about RFA and radiation and how it might help them.

When the patient is a good candidate for the combined therapy and he or she wishes to go ahead with treatment, an appointment for the RFA is scheduled at Oakland Medical Center. Often this procedure is done and patient is able to go home that same day (outpatient procedure), but occasionally patients are observed overnight in the hospital before being released. For patients who do not reside in the East Bay service area, they will return to their local medical center to receive six weeks of external beam radiation treatment, which usually begins within a month after the RFA procedure.

Patients will be monitored with follow-up scans and return visits to the RFA clinic as well as having their treatment results tracked in a database. They also will continue to see their local doctors for routine care.

Initial appointments at the RFA clinic are made after referral by the patient’s physician.
For more information,  please call 510-752-7573.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation of Lung Tumors?

Radiofrequency Ablation Followed by Conventional Radiotherapy for Medically Inoperable Stage I Non-small Cell Lung Cancer