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‘Needle surgery’ is the new hope against pancreatic cancer

Every day 1.2 thousand people worldwide are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, is this one of the lethal tumours with the lowest survival rate. However, a new technique has been discovered that promises to be a breakthrough for the lives of patients.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive. According to the North American Cancer Society, at best, the five-year survival rate is 14%, while in the worst prognosis, it is only 1%.

Now, according to a report released by BBC News, Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, is testing a pioneering method that can improve treatment. It gives the name of the radiofrequency, procedure with which three people have been successfully operated.

These patients had a specific type of a tumour, a locally advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma, inoperable with traditional techniques and treated with palliative chemotherapy.

As such, radiofrequency could be an effective alternative to chemotherapy.

An innovative and revolutionary technique

The technique consists in introducing a needle that allows applying temperatures of up to 80ºC directly in the tumour zone. The high temperature burns the cells.

The needle also has a cooling system.

In this type of intervention, a system is used to introduce fluids that reach areas such as the duodenum to prevent them from overheating,” says surgeon Elizabeth Pando of Vall d’Hebron Hospital.

The operations were carried out as part of a survey led by the Netherlands Academic Medical Center.

The procedure is already used for other types of cancer, such as liver, kidney and lung, but has never been applied to the pancreas. “The study breaks that barrier,” says Pando.

So far, it has been assessed that radiofrequency could not be used against a tumour in the pancreas. The risk would be very high given the location of that cancer, surrounded by arteries and larger veins.

If positive results are confirmed, from 2020 to 2022, the procedure may become an option for many patients suffering from this almost always lethal cancer.

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