Turning up the heat on tumors

FRESNO, Calif.

Neil Diamond, Larry King, Paul Anka, Pete Sampres, Shirley McClain ... this is the rich and famous client list of LA real estate mover and shaker Kathy Villa.

"I've been blessed with great clients," Villa, lung cancer patient, told Ivanhoe.

But she doesn't let the stresses of her high profile job get to her ... not anymore.

"My real estate traumas don't bother me at all," Villa said.

That's because she's lived through real trauma. She had lung cancer. Surgeons removed her lower right lobe ... a few months later, her left lobe. Then, another cancer found in her right lung.

"At that point, that's when they couldn't operate anymore," Villa recalled.

But now, Cedars-Sinai Dr. Peter Julien has a more targeted, less invasive way to kill her tumor.

"The future is here and now," Peter J. Julien, M.D., chief of thoracic imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, explained.

Microwaving tumors or radio-frequency tumor ablation uses a needle that's inserted into the middle of the tumor.

"It generates heat and basically cooks the tumor to death," Dr. Julien said.

Guided by CT scans, doctors use electrical currents to heat the tumor to 160 degrees.

"The energy that creates the heat is centered around the needle tip and it does destroy some of the tissue around the tumor ... which is what we want," Dr. Julien, added.

Patients can go home the same day, no scars, no pain and the best part for Villa she was awake through it all.

"For me it was very empowering to be part of the team that is working on my body to extend my life," Villa concluded.

Six months later Villa is cancer free.

Dr. Julien says this is not for everyone. Microwaving tumors can only be used for localized tumors. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, it is not a good option.

If you would like more information, please contact:
Nilou Salimpour
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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