A Pioneering Non-invasive Hot Needle Treatment for Lung Cancer


Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the United Kingdom, diagnosed every year in about 50,000 people. Late diagnosis and treatment result in deaths. Early diagnosis allows the patients to get their tumors removed through invasive surgery or radiotherapy. Co-existing illnesses such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema do not allow about one-third of the patients to be operated due to lethal post-surgical complications. Moreover, multiple radiotherapy sessions are not recommended as they might permanently damage healthy tissues and organs.

Scientists have discovered a revolutionary two-in-one lung cancer treatment that diagnoses and destroys hard-to-reach tumors at the same time in about 30 minutes, saving the patients from painful invasive surgeries. This treatment is called radiofrequency ablation in which the tumor is annihilated with a hot needle which carries out a biopsy at the same time. This fast biopsy reveals the severity of cancer in less time as compared to the normal biopsy.

The hot-needle treatment is effective and safe to be performed several times. Local anesthesia is given to the patient, followed by insertion of a 1.5mm wide fine needle into the chest at the closest site to the tumor. Another needle 0.9mm in diameter is then inserted at the same place to take a 2cm sample of the tumor. Then, a third microscopic needle is inserted with an electrode at its tip. This needle is connected to a generator that heats tumor to 60 to 70oc by delivering radiofrequency energy to it in order to destroy it.

The patient is sent home within a few hours after the treatment. The hot-needle treatment has been shown to be effective in about half of the patients. Other radiologists around the country are being taught this two-in-one hot needle treatment procedure. Ellinor Cobb, a retired printer received this therapy in April 2017 at the age of 80 after her lung cancer returned after five radiotherapy sessions. She found this treatment convenient and effective, recommending it to other patients.




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