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Leaving Tumors in the Cold

New treatment freezes, destroys common form of benign breast tumors

SUNDAY, Dec. 1, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Cryoablation, a treatment that uses extreme cold, provides an alternative to surgery for fibroadenomas, the most common form of benign breast tumor, says an American study in the November issue of the American Journal of Surgery.

The procedure can be performed in a doctor's office. Under ultrasound guidance, a small needle is placed into the center of the tumor, where the freezing tip delivers extreme cold to the tumor and destroys it.

The patient is given a local anesthetic for the cryoablation treatment and can go back to her normal activities immediately after the procedure.

In this study, doctors used cryoablation to treat more than 50 fibroadenomas. After 12 months, the patients' fibroadenomas had regressed by an average of 92 per cent.

Each year, about 500,000 fibroadenomas are diagnosed and about two-thirds are surgically removed. Women often develop multiple fibroadenomas and have to endure several operations and resulting scars.

The researchers say their study shows that cryoablation offers an alternative that allows women to be treated without surgery, general anesthesia or stitches.

More Information

The American Cancer Society has more about benign breast conditions.

SOURCE: American Journal of Surgery, news release, November 2002
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