Interventional oncology is a new specialty of medicine now considered the 4th pillar of oncology care alongside medical, radiation, and surgical oncology.  It is a hybrid between radiology because it uses imaging to guide treatments for cancer patients and surgery since the procedures are surgical in nature although far less invasive than open surgery.  Interventional oncology procedures are minimally invasive, extremely precise in their ability to target and destroy tumors and use sophisticated imaging technology to guide the treatments, thereby minimizing side effects and maximizing quality of life as well as patient comfort.   Interventional oncology has made significant inroads in the last decade to the point that many treatments are now considered “standard of care” and included into all the treatment guidelines.  This is indeed the case for patients with liver, kidney and lung cancer who can all benefit from such minimally invasive, highly precise treatments for symptomatic relief, tumor control, effective remission and even in some cases complete cure.

What Treatments are Used with Interventional Oncology?

Traditional cancer therapies, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and generate significant side effects. These side effects are much less prevalent with interventional oncology, a minimally invasive approach because of its minimally invasive nature and precise targeting of tumors. These image-guided therapies can provide a beneficial alternative against cancer that spares healthy tissue and relieves symptoms. As a result, patients view the care provided by interventional oncologists with satisfaction and have been the strongest advocates for the growth of the specialty.

Interventional oncology includes the following treatments:

  • Radioembolization (Y-90 SIRT): Performed by inserting a needle into an artery in the groin or wrist through a tiny incision. The treatment combines the localized delivery via the blood supply to the tumor of radiation therapy in the form of tiny beads to treat patients with liver cancer and the precision of imaging to maximize the potency of the treatment while leaving healthy liver tissue untouched.
  • Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE): This is also performed by inserting a needle into an artery in the groin or wrist through a tiny incision. The image-guided treatment combines the local delivery of high doses of chemotherapy with embolization which reduces the blood flow to the tumor. Both SIRT and TACE are generally very well tolerated, have few complications and take far less recovery time than traditional surgery.
  • Ablation Therapy: Minimally invasive treatment that destroys tumors by applying thermal energy, either in the form of extreme heat or cold, directly to the tumor.

Benefits of Interventional Oncology

Cancer does not have to be a devastating disease.  This is why minimally invasive, highly precise treatment options performed under sophisticated imaging guidance have gained tremendous acceptance.   With such technology in hand, it is now possible to effectively treat various cancers without compromising a patient’s quality of life and comfort.  As such, interventional oncology offers a valuable alternative to surgery and has a variety of benefits such as:

  • Precisely targets tumors while sparing healthy tissue
  • Has few to no side effects
  • No need for invasive surgery
  • Is used in an outpatient setting – no need for hospitalization
  • Faster recovery – can resume normal activity in 24-48 hours

It is not difficult to see the benefits of interventional oncology. This new field has already been shown to increase patient survival and improving quality of life in some cancers such as liver, kidney and lung cancer.

USA Oncology Centers is a leading oncological center that offers patients who have been diagnosed with secondary liver cancer, the best possible treatment options. Call 855-870-4747 to speak one of our industry experts or schedule an initial consultation.


The information in blog articles is for information purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult a licensed healthcare professional for advice on any specific medical condition or any changes to your healthcare decisions.

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