This is sometimes referred to as interventional oncology but the treatments are also effective in benign conditions. IR therapies are used for the following:
• to treat the tumour / cancer (tumour ablation, embolization)
• to relieve the effects of the cancer on other systems e.g. blockage of the gullet (oesophagus), bowel, kidney (nephrostomy) or liver (biliary drainage)
• To drain collections of fluid or pus in the chest or abdomen
• To place feeding tubes (gastrostomy, jejunostomy)
• To treat collapsed spinal bones (vertebroplasty)
Tumour therapies: these treatments are intended to shrink or destroy tumours at their primary site or which have spread to other areas (metastases). This is an area of increasing interest and leading to improved survival with reduced morbidity.
Liver, kidney and other tumours (e.g. bone, lung): these can be treated by destructive therapies (ablation) usually involving heat (radiofrequency, laser, microwave, ultrasound) or cold damage (cryotherapy). The treatment is performed and monitored using imaging (ultrasound, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging).
Uterine fibroids : heavy menstrual bleeding and pain can be caused by benign tumours called fibroids. These can be treated by blocking blood vessels (uterine fibroid embolization, UFE) which leads to shrinkage. Embolization is sometimes combined with drug therapy (chemoembolization) or radiotherapy (radioembolization) which targets the effect to the tumour and limits some of the side effects of cancer therapy.