Radiofrequency ablation is an innovative therapy that uses electrical energy and heat to destroy cancerous tissues. A needle-thin probe delivers low doses of radiofrequency waves directly to the tumor, leading to necrosis (cell death). It is commonly used as a treatment for prostate cancer, among other conditions.
Radiofrequency ablation can be highly effective at stopping tumor growth, and offers a number of advantages over other common prostate cancer therapies. For instance:
- An entire treatment session typically takes no more than half an hour (in comparison, some chemotherapy sessions can last three or four hours each).
- Patients typically only require an oral sedative and a local anesthetic.
- Recovery times are minimal; most patients are able to return to normal activity within a few days.
- During clinical trials, it has been found to pose a very low risk of side effects. The treatment is targeted, and adjacent tissues and organs are not affected, as is often the case with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
While it can be used in a number of scenarios, radiofrequency ablation is most often used for cancers that are not eligible for traditional surgical removal. It is also a common option for prostate cancers that are hormone-resistant or for tumors that press up against the bladder, leading to discomfort that cannot be controlled through pain medications.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, a multispecialty team will evaluate each patient to determine which therapies are most likely to meet a patient’s unique needs. All of our treatments – from traditional prostate cancer surgery and radiofrequency ablation to chemotherapy and radiation therapy – are provided in a single convenient location and administered by oncologists who specialize exclusively in the treatment of prostate cancer. Plus, we do not require our patients to obtain referrals before turning to us for treatment.