Doctors are studying a new method of treating stage 1 kidney cancer; by freezing them. Results show this method is as effective as surgery, with similar ten year survival rates. Additionally, as this procedure is minimally invasive, it has a lower rate of complications.
One of the ten most common cancers in the United States, most cases are found in stage 1. Previous treatments included removing the tumor from the kidney or removing the whole kidney. This new procedure is called Percutaneous cryoablation (PCA).With PCS, argon gas is circulated through needles, freezing a small volume of the tissue. This includes the tumor and the tissue around the tumor. This kills the tumor, turning it into scar tissue. This scar tissue is absorbed over time.
This is an outpatient procedure and takes about 30 to 40 minutes to perform. The patient is observed for three hours and discharged. One study on PCA looked at 134 patients who underwent PCA. All were in stage 1 kidney cancer and would be compared with patients who had undergone surgery. Researchers were particularly interested in the ten year outcomes. 94% of PCA patients were still alive at ten years after the PCA procedure.
Currently, surgery is still the standard procedure in taking care of stage 1 kidney cancer. The results of these studies are likely to cause hospitals and doctors to update their guidelines.