Cancer is the second cause of death in the developed world with 2, 645, 000 estimated deaths/year. Due to the wide variety of cancer types, stages and locations, there is no unified approach to treatment. Cancer therapy still relies on a wide variety of techniques. Traditional treatment options are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. New treatment approaches based on local tumor ablation have lately received much attention from the medical community.
Ablation techniques rely on the principle that the tumor is not removed (like in a surgical resection) but rather destroyed in place. The necrotic tumor is then disposed off by the body immune system, leaving only some scar tissue.
Several ablation methods have been developed, differing in the means to destroy the tumorous cells. The most widely used ablation methods are:
Minimally invasive therapies
A common trait of these ablation therapies is the limited invasiveness of the procedure hence their qualification as « minimally invasive ». Indeed, most ablation therapies rely on the insertion of a needle-like applicator into the body either through the skin (percutaneous) or through a vessel (intra vascular) resulting in a very well tolerated intervention, often performed on an outpatient basis.