How doctors in Spain are freezing tumours at -40ºC to rid patients of cancer while avoiding surgery

A HOSPITAL in Spain is making use of a new method for treating tumours, in particular for cancer patients who cannot risk surgery due to factors such as age or underlying health conditions. 

Percutaneous cryoablation uses special needles to target tumours, freezing the cancerous cells to a temperature as low as -40ºC and thus destroying them. 

The breast cancer unit at the Vinalopo University Hospital, in south Alicante province, has incorporated the treatment, according to a press release, and has already used it to eliminate cancerous tissue in a patient. 

The tumour was frozen to a temperature of -20ºC using liquid nitrogen inserted via a special needle, avoiding the need for a mastectomy.

Read more: Health alert: Cancer-causing chemical is found in batches of a moisturising cream in Spain as customers are urged to throw it away

Alicante hospital freezing tumours
An Alicante hospital is now freezing tumours to avoid surgery. Credit: Vinalopo University Hospital

Medical teams use ultrasound scans to locate the tumours, and the process can be carried out without general anaesthetic and avoiding the need for the patient to stay overnight in the hospital. 

“If [the patient] has hormone receptors in the tumour, they start hormone therapy treatment and, as soon as the response is evaluated, a decision is made as to whether cryoablation is necessary,” explains Lucía Hernández, head of breast radiodiagnosis at the Vinalopó Hospital.

“If the response is not positive or if they do not have hormone receptors, the technique is considered,” she adds.

The hospital also pointed to the importance of early diagnosis when it comes to breast cancers, so that different treatment options can be considered that will not only improve the prognosis, but also avoid potentially unnecessary surgeries. 

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