New breast cancer treatment available in Oregon freezes tumors from inside out

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

By: FOX 12 Staff


October is breast cancer awareness month and there’s a new treatment available in Oregon.

The technique, called Cryoablation, is a relatively new treatment for breast cancer. Legacy Health is the first healthcare system in Oregon to offer it.

The technique is non-surgical and involves extreme cold. It involves thin, hollow needle that injects liquid nitrogen into a tumor to freeze it from the inside out. The diseased cells die off, and the immune system takes it from there.

FOX 12 spoke with a Legacy Health patient who was among the first in Oregon to receive the treatment. Elizabeth Estes says she was identified as a good candidate based on her type of breast cancer and the stage she was in. She wants to spread the word about the procedure, which is an alternative to open surgery.

“For me, it was not having to have my breasts disfigured, it was keeping them whole and the Cryoablation that freezes the tumors actually helps your immune system,” Estes said.

FOX 12 also spoke with the Legacy Health doctor who pushed to make Cryoablation available in Oregon. Doctor Cynthia Aks says she’s passionate about the treatment because of its potential immune effect.

“So, when the cancer cells are disrupted, they release fragments of their tumor, which stimulates the immune system,” Aks said. “It’s kind of like an auto vaccine concept. So the the patient is then primed, if those patients were to develop similar types of tumors again, they’re primed to go out and seek and destroy those cancer cells.”

The procedure takes less than a half hour, is painless, and does not require stitches, according to health officials.

Estes received the treatment about a year ago. She says her screenings are all clear and says she is feeling happy and healthy.

Legacy Health has more info on the treatment available online here.