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HEALTHBEAT 4: Non-invasive cancer treatments

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) --  A cancer diagnosis is something no one wants to hear. But, doctors right here in Siouxland are looking to make the process easier by bringing non-invasive cancer treatments to patients.

Back in February, a new interventional radiology suite was unveiled at MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center.

The advanced machines can take 3D mapping images of patients from head to toe and around the patient in several dimensions.

That can help physicians offer minimally invasive vascular and non-vascular procedures.

"Different types of cancers have different ways that they grow," MercyOne Siouxland Interventional Radiologist Neal Khurana said.

As an Interventional Radiologist at MercyOne Siouxland, Dr. Neal Khurana sees many of those types of cancers.

Some of the treatment options include transarterial chemoembolization and radioembolization.

"The first one being injecting chemotherapy on small particles and the other latter injecting radio-active particles," Khurana said.

Dr. Khurana said this treatment is usually used for liver cancer.

He said an incision will be made into an artery in the wrist or groin. Using the equipment in the Interventional Radiology suite, doctors are able to guide a catheter to the blood vessels that supply the tumor.

"So we can capitalize on that by attacking the blood supply, therefore, shutting down the growth," Dr. Khurana said. "We're able to go to the blood vessel that supplies the tumor with the cancer and inject particles that contain chemotherapy or radiation and have them cut off blood supply to the tumor and therefore kill the tumor."

Meaning the side effects of chemotherapy like hair loss and nausea can be avoided. Which gives patients a quicker and safer recovery.

Dr. Khurana said in some patients, this treatment can be first-line or curative.

"Usually it's in conjunction, it's an adjuvant to chemotherapy," Dr. Khurana said. "Whether one chemotherapy is failing or they've gone through multiple chemotherapy's, this may be a last-ditch effort."

He said patients can still experience nausea with the therapy, but it's much less than they would see with traditional chemotherapy.

Dr. Khurana said the addition of the new interventional radiology suite at MercyOne allows them to better visualize the internal organs and blood vessels like they couldn't before. That's something that is critical to these non-invasive cancer treatments. Meaning patients don't have to drive far to get this treatment.

Michaela Feldmann

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