Freeze Therapy: An Alternative to Breast Cancer Surgery?

Breast Cancer - American Health Council

“A freezing technique known as cryoablation might be a viable alternative to lumpectomy for treating small, early stage breast cancers, researchers report.”

In the small study of 86 patients, “cryoablation was shown to successfully [treat] the majority of small breast cancers with few side effects or complications,” said study co-author Dr. Deanna Attai. She’s an assistant clinical professor of surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine. Using this minimally invasive approach to destroy cancer cells, there should be little to no change in the appearance of the breast, said Attai, immediate past president of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.

The major risk, Attai said, is not killing all the cancerous cells. Another surgeon noted that although further research is still needed, cryoablation appears to be “a potential new tool that we can offer women.”

“This is promising data. It’s the first step,” said Dr. Laura Kruper, chief of the breast surgery service at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. However, “it’s certainly not going to be for everyone,” she added.For one thing, “the tumor can only be about a centimeter,” Kruper said. That’s less than half an inch.

The freezing technique has been used for years to treat cancers of the liver, lung and kidney, as well as noncancerous breast tumors, Attai and her colleagues said.

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