How Interventional Radiology is Revolutionizing Cancer Diagnostics & Treatment
Interventional radiology (IR) supports cancer and non-cancer patients, giving care teams access to advanced imaging technologies to more accurately diagnose and treat disease with a minimally invasive approach. IR continues to advance its role in comprehensive cancer care as it provides an alternative to open surgery and can be an essential tool for cancer diagnosis, treating malignancies, benign tumors, therapeutics, and managing related complications such as pain, bleeding, organ obstructions, venous thrombosis and more.
Moffitt cares deeply about our patients’ experience, and advancements in interventional radiology also give patients expanded options that offer less pain and risk and shorter recoveries. Interventional radiology is improving the standard of patient care while improving patient outcomes.
Why Refer to Interventional Radiology Specialists?
There are many reasons to refer a patient to Moffitt’s Interventional Radiology Specialists. Using imaging technologies such as MRIs, X-Rays, and ultrasound, our IR specialists can accurately diagnose, stage, and treat various medical conditions with minimally invasive procedures that previously required open surgery. We can also diagnose benign and non-cancerous conditions.
While our IR department regularly treats patients with cancers of the breast, kidneys, lungs, bones, and prostate, we also offer specialized diagnostics and procedures to noncancer patients.
Frequently performed IR procedures at Moffitt include:
- Image-guided interventions, which are more comfortable with shorter recovery and fewer risks of complications compared to open surgery and performed in an outpatient setting
- Vascular interventions, including venous access such as port-a-cath or PICC lines, tumor embolization, etc.
- Non-vascular interventions, including biopsies, abscess drainage, chest tube or catheter placement, etc.
- Clinical and related nonprocedural activities
- Outpatient and inpatient consultation
- Participation in clinical trials
- Vascular diagnosis using arteriography, venography, and dialysis access evaluations
Advanced imaging technology can be used at every step, from diagnosis to staging and treatment. Accurate imaging helps avoid misdiagnosis and allows doctors to create the most effective treatment plan tailored to patients and their results for the best outcomes.
Referring providers don’t need a diagnosis to refer patients to our IR Department. We encourage providers to refer even when cancer is just a suspicion. Interventional radiology is also helpful when you’ve performed testing but cannot confirm a diagnosis.
Innovative IR Use Cases & Therapeutic Applications
Moffitt strives to remain at the frontline of care, using new and effective technologies for cancer and noncancer applications. Some of the most innovative therapeutic applications for IR include use cases in urology, gynecology, and gastroenterology.
Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE) is a minimally-invasive treatment for men with an enlarged prostate, which 50% of men over 50 suffer from. A small catheter is inserted into the femoral artery and guided to vessels using imaging. The catheter injects tiny plastic particles to stop blood flow in the area to relieve urethral pressure and allow for regained urinary function. PAE is an outpatient procedure that’s generally pain-free and does not require general anesthesia.
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a unique gynecological application where IR technology can treat uterine fibroids, a common women’s health issue by which up to 80% of women are affected. Using a similar process as PAE, a thin catheter is inserted to inject plastic particles and shut off blood supply to shrink fibroids and relieve symptoms. This option preserves fertility, has a quicker recovery, and carries a lower risk of complications.
Hemorrhoid embolization is a quick outpatient procedure that uses a similar process as the embolizations listed above but instead uses tiny metallic coils to block the arteries that supply blood to the hemorrhoid. This short, outpatient procedure with minimal recovery offers an alternative to standard surgery, which has significant recovery (1 month of pain and bleeding).
The Future of IR
Innovation has always driven interventional radiology; many therapeutic approaches we rely on today were developed within the last 50 years. Looking ahead, the future of interventional radiology is promising, with many recent breakout technologies already finding valuable use cases.
Some of these technologies allow for even less invasive procedures with faster recovery times. Others, such as augmented reality tools, offer more precise imaging and simultaneous visualizations to guide doctors and give them real-time feedback during IR procedures.
As IR technology develops, more personalized approaches to treatment are possible. This may include genetic testing and other advanced methods to identify the most effective treatments for individual patients based on genetic makeup, precise tumor location, and more. Another approach to personalized treatment is theranostics, which integrates therapeutics and diagnostic imaging techniques to precisely target cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues.
Moffitt’s Minimally Invasive Approach
Moffitt strives to be at the frontline of cancer care and stays up to date with the newest technology in treating cancer. Our focus extends far beyond clinical treatment. We also care deeply about our patients’ quality of life. Our minimally invasive approach allows the fastest return to normal daily life while undergoing treatment.
If you'd like to refer a patient to Moffitt Cancer Center, complete our online form or contact a physician liaison for assistance. As part of our efforts to shorten referral times as much as possible, online referrals are typically responded to within 24 - 48 hours.