Treating Cancer Pain With the STAR Method

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Whether benign or malignant, tumors are a difficult and terrifying enemy to battle. Tumors can cause a number of health problems depending on their location in the body. Moreover, if they are malignant, the scary factor soars through the roof.

Tumors in the spinal column can cause a particularly brutal constellation of symptoms, including sciatica and other forms of chronic pain. Researchers have triaged spinal column tumors as a high-priority problem that must be understood and conquered immediately. After many years of hard work, researchers have developed a new treatment option called STAR.

What Is STAR?

STAR stands for Spinal Tumor Ablation using Radiofrequency. STAR treatments are minimally invasive and offer palliative pain relief from spinal tumors. During a STAR treatment, the patient lies on his or her stomach. A small puncture is made in the back, allowing the STAR treatment device to enter the large portion of the particular vertebrae that is afflicted with the spinal tumor.

The STAR treatment device controls the temperature of the tumor within the vertebrae. By increasing the temperature of the tumor and monitoring the temperature of the surrounding tissues, the STAR treatment device can effectively eradicate the tumor cells. The STAR treatment device is then removed from the vertebrae, and a simple dressing covers the small puncture wound.

How Can It Help Me?

According to recent reports, 30–40 percent of cancer patients “will present with complaints related to metastatic spinal tumors.” If you are one of these patients, STAR treatment might be able to help you.

In particular, STAR therapy is best suited for patients who have tumors that are resistant to radiotherapy, that are located in the posterior vertebral body, and that are metastatic, meaning that they have spread from one part of the body to another. If you suffer from recurrent pain after radiation treatments and have reached your maximum radiation dosage limit but are still suffering from spinal tumors, have localized pain, or have other symptoms that prevent radiation, or if other systemic treatments prevent you from getting palliative radiation, then you might be a good candidate for STAR treatments.

What Do I Do Now?

First, ask your oncologist about whether STAR treatment is right for your particular type of cancer. There are many factors to consider when deciding on the right course of action while treating cancer. You and your doctor should discuss factors such as the placement and size of spinal tumors, the type of cancer causing the tumors, potential side effects of or complications from various forms of treatment, and to what degree you can expect STAR treatments to help you.

If your doctor recommends STAR treatments, the next step is to find a physician near you who is trained in performing spinal tumor ablation using radiofrequency. As STAR is a relatively new and innovative treatment process, it is important to find a trained physician who can thoroughly discuss your options for and expectations of STAR treatments.

Spinal tumor ablation using radiofrequency is a quick and minimally invasive procedure that could mean huge long-term gains for your fight against cancer. Take a proactive step toward a pain-free life by asking your doctor whether STAR treatment might be right for you.


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