Radiological Imaging Advancements Not to be Overlooked

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Developments and advancements in medical imaging (radiology) are revered within the medical community as being some of the most critical progressions for cancer care over the last few decades. However, these same achievements are seldom acknowledged publicly.

Imaging, by way of CT, MRI or PET scanning is now facilitating both the detection and categorization of tumors of a smaller size pertaining to the liver, lungs, and kidneys.

For a long time, cancer care has been predicated on the chief principles of surgical oncology, medical oncology, and radiation oncology; yet the prognosis of smaller cancers via radiologic imaging often through "at-risk investigation" or incidentally in the asymptomatic 'scanned' patient alludes to other possibilities.InterventionalRadiology

In the middle of all the publicity and popularity granted to major pharmaceutical companies for producing patient-specific drugs, it is staggering how little attention has been given to developments and advancements in minimally-invasive, "interventional oncology".

As of today cancers are diagnosed by radiological imaging and from a treatment standpoint, this is perhaps the best method for administrating less invasive treatment therapies.

This, along with the larger goal of avoiding surgically opening the patient’s body, at least for small tumors, or exposing the patient to whole body chemotherapy when it could be easily avoided, is what these minimally-invasive treatments strive towards.

Developments within interventional oncology are well demonstrated by the speedy progression, in the last 20 years, of tissue ablative technologies, which exterminate cancerous tumors in location sites, like radiofrequency ablation (using heat to destroy cancer cells), microwave ablation (which uses electromagnetic waves) or cryoablation (freezing tissue).

Numerous medical journal publications are attesting to the high efficiency and effectiveness of this method for small volume liver, lung, and kidney cancers.

It has been noted that only one out of 147 patients had a recurrence of their cancer on a median follow-up of 20 months.

This alludes to an end result probably just as, if not more, favorable than those seen with more conventional surgical excisions.

And what’s more, all this was accomplished with significantly lower costs, shortened bed stays, and fewer complications.

Vascular catheters, also developed within interventional radiology, can be utilized to reach tumors by the arteries that hold them. They are then positioned in order to supply targeted drug therapies to liver tumors by way of drug-releasing particles, a process known as chemo-embolisation.

Moreover, particles which send out short-range irradiation to tumors are being injected through catheters under imaging control to treat liver tumors, another process known as radio-embolisation.

Embolisation seeks to transport significantly higher concentrations of drugs and radiation to the tumor site than could be endured by any conventional, whole body approach.

Such methods are deeply rooted in radiological imaging and the clear mission of the detection of smaller cancers.

Again it is alarming how the growing subspecialty of 'interventional oncology' has continuously escaped the public eye and perhaps as a glaring side-effect, barely registers in the National Cancer Research portfolio, which is loaded with drug trials of major pharmaceutical companies.

It is high time for public and private interest to be paid in this promising new method of cancer care, as it is already happening in other more responsive health care economies around the world.

For there now exists a much needed call for research into and commitment towards image-guided ablation, rather than open surgery, for smaller liver, lung and kidney cancers.

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