By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new way to freeze away cancer and a first in Philadelphia. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is here with exclusive details on the minimally invasive treatment.
This is a new patient friendly way to treat cancer of the esophagus, that’s the tube like structure that runs from the throat to the stomach.
Sonny and Clara Galati have been married 42 years. They have a life filled with laughter, family and exotic travel.
When he was diagnosed with early stage cancer of the esophagus two months ago, they were devastated.
“It was like everything stopped, and I wondered what would we do without him,” said Clara.
Sonny became one of the first patients in Philadelphia to get a new treatment at Temple University Hospital.
“There’s no cutting or surgery involved. There’s no chemotherapy or radiation that’s involved,” said Dr. Michael Smith, who is using a new form of Cryotherapy. It’s called truFreeze, used to zap cancer cells in the esophagus.
“This is a brand new device that maximizes the efficiency of the spraying to allow us to treat more effectively and in a more patient friendly way with less risks of side effects,” said Dr. Smith, who is a paid consultant for truFreeze. He says the patient is asleep during the outpatient procedure.
The freezing spray comes from a catheter guided down the throat with a camera mounted endoscope. Inside the esophagus the frozen, dead cancer cells turn white.
“This is very much a minimally invasive, patient friendly way to kill these cells,” said Dr. Smith.
“There’s no post pain or anything I felt from the procedure. It was very easy to go through,” said Sonny.
And now from fearing the worst, the Galati’s are back to planning more adventures together.
“I’m at the right place at the right time. I’m blessed I could do this, that this is possible,” said Sonny.
Depending on the cancer, patients usually get a series of cryotherapy treatments.
It’s also used for a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, that’s caused by acid reflux and increases the cancer risk.
Temple Digestive Disease Center- http://digestive.templehealth.org/content/default.htm
truFreeze Information- http://csamedical.com/