4 Things Cancer Patients Should Know About NanoKnife Surgery

Posted on: 11 July 2017

If you or a loved one has a difficult-to-treat form of cancer, your oncologist may have suggested a procedure known as NanoKnife surgery. This cutting-edge medical procedure involves treating inoperable tumors using electrical currents, which offers several benefits for patients. NanoKnife surgery is minimally invasive and innovative and is well worth looking into if you have a difficult-to-treat form of cancer. Here are four important things patients should know about NanoKnife surgery:

NanoKnife Is Ideal for Hard-to-Treat Tumors

One of the main reasons NanoKnife was developed was to provide an alternative treatment option for tumors in difficult-to-treat locations. For example, certain cancers, including pancreatic and colon cancer, often involve inoperable tumors simply because of the location of the tumor. If a tumor is attached or very close to to a major blood vessel or organ, traditional cancer treatments may be too dangerous and risky for the patient, rendering the tumor officially inoperable.

Because NanoKnife is minimally invasive and uses electricity instead of heat, it kills the targeted cancer cells and tumor without damaging any of the surrounding tissue, organs, or blood vessels. This is great news for those who have been diagnosed with inoperable cancerous tumors, or those who have tumors in risky locations that may be dangerous to treat with conventional surgery. NanoKnife is also a big improvement over previous alternatives to traditional surgery, which tended to use high levels of heat to kill cancer cells, but also killed healthy tissue in the process.

NanoKnife Is Minimally Invasive

NanoKnife surgery does not require incisions and is not considered a major operation. Instead, the procedure involves a surgeon inserting tiny needles into the skin near the tumor, using ultrasound or MRI technology as a guide to find the exact location of the tumor. Electrical currents then travel to the tumor via the small needles, killing the cancerous cells and tumor. The entire process is usually over within an hour, and the patient does not need to stay overnight in the hospital.

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and the patient will be groggy and need a ride home from the hospital, but they will also be able to resume normal activities within a few hours once the anesthesia wears off. Patients typically receive antibiotics as well to prevent infection after the procedure. Most NanoKnife patients find that there is very little pain involved, and the pain they do experience is easily managed.

NanoKnife Is Especially Promising for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is an especially challenging diagnosis to receive because of its notoriously low survival rate. For that reason, NanoKnife's success with treating pancreatic cancer is especially notable. In fact, recent studies have indicated that NanoKnife may double a pancreatic cancer patient's survival rate. The major reason for NanoKnife's effectiveness as a treatment option for pancreatic cancer is that previously many pancreatic cancer cases were considered inoperable and could only be treated with chemotherapy.

NanoKnife Surgery Is Not for Everyone

While NanoKnife is a very promising and innovative treatment option for many cancer patients, it is not the ideal solution for everyone. NanoKnife is not usually suggested for patients with forms of cancer that are easily treated or traditionally operable, as most oncologists and surgeons recommend trying traditional treatment options first. In addition, since NanoKife involves the use of electrical currents, it is not recommended for patients with pacemakers, irregular heartbeats, or other cardiac problems.

Determining the best course of treatment for your cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. By consulting with your oncologist about your unique cancer diagnosis and situation, you will be able to determine if NanoKnife is a good fit for you.