Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Lung Cancer Health Center

Font Size

New Procedure Zaps Lung Cancers Away

Can Be Used When Surgery Is Not an Option
WebMD Health News

Dec. 1, 2004 (Chicago) -- A new outpatient procedure that zaps lung cancer is a safe and viable alterative to surgery and may be a better option for some patients.

Damian Dupuy, MD, professor of diagnostic imaging at Brown Medical School in Providence, R.I., tells WebMD that this tumor-zapping approach, which uses radiofrequency energy, has several advantages over traditional cancer treatments.

Unlike radiation, there is no maximum dose of radiofrequency, so the procedure can be safely repeated a number of times, Dupuy says. He reported his findings at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting.

In his study he treated 126 lung cancer patients. During the procedure, called radiofrequency ablation, a probe is inserted through the skin and guided to the tumor site. Once the probe is placed, it emits radiofrequency energy, which heats the tumor cells.

"So, we actually cook the tissue almost to the boiling point, and that kills the tumor," Dupuy says.

He says 62% of the patients who had treatable disease were still alive 21 months after the procedure. Five years after treatment, more than half of the patients were still alive.

In addition to using radiofrequency ablation to cure lung cancer, Dupuy says it can also be used to relieve pain for patients with late-stage lung cancer.

The procedure can even be used in people when surgery is not an option because their health is too poor. Dupuy says that covers a majority of lung cancer patients who are often too old or who have other smoking-related conditions such as heart disease or emphysema.

He notes that one of his patients was 92 when he underwent radiofrequency ablation for a lung tumor. "We had to repeat the procedure a year later when the patient was 93, and now he is 95 and still leading a very active life," he says.

Bradford J. Wood, MD, a senior clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health clinical center in Bethesda, Md., tells WebMD that "we are on the edge of an explosion of image-guided, noninvasive treatments, and Dupuy's study is an exciting example of one of these treatments."

Today on WebMD

Broken cigarette
Do you know the myths from the facts?
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
Lung Cancer Risks Myths and Facts
cancer fighting foods
Improving Lung Cancer Survival Targeted Therapy
Lung Cancer Surprising Differences Between Sexes
Pets Improve Your Health
Vitamin D
Lung Cancer Surgery Options