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Interventional Oncology

Interventional oncology

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The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on March 24, 2021.

Interventional oncology at CTCA

The rapidly growing field of interventional oncology has become a pillar of cancer care, along with medical, surgical and radiation oncology. The interventional oncology program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) uses targeted, minimally invasive procedures performed with the help of image guidance to diagnose, treat and/or relieve the symptoms of cancer.

Cancer patients are referred to interventional oncologists to integrate minimally invasive treatments, when possible, with the goal of reducing the need for invasive surgeries. Interventional oncologists may also perform diagnostic procedures, such as colonoscopies or endoscopies.

Each of the specialists in our interventional radiology program at CTCA® collaborates regularly with the other doctors and clinicians on the patient’s care team, monitoring the patient’s progress, making adjustments to the treatment plan when necessary and helping the patient manage side effects and support quality of life in keeping with our integrative care model.

The interventional oncology program at CTCA includes the following disciplines:

  • Interventional radiology
  • Interventional pulmonology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Interventional pain management

Interventional radiology

The interventional radiology program at CTCA is designed to provide cancer patients with minimally invasive options for some treatments. Several interventional radiology procedures may be used as an alternative to traditional surgery. Other interventional radiology procedures may be used to manage pain and complications, conduct biopsies and alleviate a variety of symptoms that may result from cancer treatment.

The interventional radiologists at CTCA are educated and trained in diagnosing and treating diseases using minimally invasive techniques. These specialists also perform procedures to support patient comfort. For example, they may use drainage catheters to drain excess fluid and relieve symptoms that may cause pain or discomfort, or insert ports and PICC lines to reduce the number of needle pricks required during treatment. Bone and joint injections may be used for pain management.

Interventional pulmonology

The lung is a complex organ. The interventional pulmonology specialists at CTCA offer minimally invasive treatment options to cancer patients and those experiencing respiratory disease or infection.

The interventional pulmonologists at CTCA specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs and respiratory system, such as lung cancer, pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. Using minimally invasive techniques, these specialists perform interventional procedures in the airways and chest cavity, including advanced bronchoscopy and pleuroscopy techniques.

During cancer treatment, some patients may experience pleural effusion or obstruction of the airway, causing symptoms such as wheezing, respiratory failure and uncontrolled cough. These symptoms may not only impact the patient’s quality of life, they may also delay or interrupt treatments. Our interventional pulmonologists use imaging technology to look for signs of the cause of these and other symptoms. Then, using minimally invasive pulmonology techniques and procedures, they may remove obstructions in the airway or fluid around the lungs, and reduce symptoms that cause discomfort to help the patient breathe more comfortably.

Gastroenterology

The interventional gastroenterology experts at CTCA specialize in diagnosing, staging and offering advanced treatments for a wide range of digestive system cancers, including colorectal, pancreatic, esophageal, stomach and liver cancer. Our gastroenterologists may also help treat lung or breast cancers that have metastasized or spread to the gastrointestinal system, as well as precancerous conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus, a risk factor for esophageal cancer.

Interventional pain management

The quality-of-life issues a cancer patient faces are often complex. After surgeries and other treatments, many patients experience pain, one of the most common cancer-related side effects. At CTCA, our team of pain management physicians is dedicated to helping patients address these and other relevant needs, while also helping them avoid addiction to opioids.

Pain management physicians lead the efforts to treat cancer-related pain, in consultation with your oncology team, to help improve quality of life. Our pain management physicians work closely with their patients to tailor treatment options to meet the needs of each individual, using a variety of preventative and palliative pain management techniques, including implanted pain pumps, nerve block therapies and prescription medications, when appropriate.

These physicians consult regularly with the patient’s care team to combine pain management with other supportive care services, such as nutritional support, occupational therapy and group or individual psychosocial counseling.