Lung Ablation Use May To Combat Cancer

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
Lung Ablation Use May To Combat Cancer

Five years ago Vera Morrison of Madison Heights was diagnosed with lung cancer- the No. 1 cause of death among men and women in the United States. After radiation treatments failed, her future didn't look so bright.

But then she was given the option to try a new treatment called lung ablation by Beaumont interventional radiologist Michael Savin, M.D. She agreed to treatment with radiofrequency ablation, or RFA. Since her RFA in May 2006, her cancer has been in remission.

"I do everything now, just like I could do before my diagnosis," explains Morrison, 75, a retired school administrator and former owner of a travel business.

As in Morrison's case, RFA, an image-guided technology, has had early successes in treating patients with lung cancer. Now Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak is the only Michigan hospital participating in a national research trial studying the long-term effectiveness of RFA in early-stage lung cancer. More information is needed and Beaumont researchers are seeking patients for the study. While Vera is not a patient in the trial, her experience with RFA is encouraging.


RFA, a minimally invasive technology, is not new. It has been used to treat solid tumors including liver, kidney, breast, lung and bone.

Explains Dr. Savin, "Lung ablation is not for everyone, but for select patients, especially those who are not surgical candidates, like Vera."

During lung ablation, Dr. Savin uses CT scans to locate the tumor and then inserts a needle applicator into the tumor to produce heat to destroy it. The cancerous tumor cells are killed from the inside out using electrical current called radiofrequency ablation.

"RFA allows us to pinpoint and destroy or ablate the tumor, with minimal damage to normal tissue," says Dr. Savin. "It's done with a biopsy-like needle."

Because of a history of heart problems that resulted in bypass procedures, Morrison's cardiologist thought lung surgery was too risky and not a treatment option for her.

"I highly recommend Dr. Savin. He's the greatest. He really took the time to explain this treatment- how it works and what to expect," says Morrison.

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