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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Israel pioneers new type of liver cancer treatment

Tags: Health
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Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem [Wikimedia Commons photo]

 A new method for operating on liver cancer patients was put to the test for the first time in Israel recently at Hadassah University Hospital-Ein Kerem in Jerusalem.

The method applies a direct flow of high-voltage electrical currents to the malignant tumour and has raised new hope for patients diagnosed with the disease. Until now, a cancerous growth in the liver has been considered a death sentence. But after the first operation of its kind using the electrical current method was performed several weeks ago on Louis Saznovsky, 55, from the town of Sitria, the diagnosis has become a lot less frightening.

Saznovsky, who was told he had a cancerous growth last year, said, “Since the growth was attached to blood vessels, they explained to me that it would be difficult to reach and remove it. Without surgery, there was no other way to treat me.”

With no other way to help Saznovsky, doctors decided to try the new method known as irreversible electroporation, which takes just several minutes under complete anesthetic. Since that first use of the new method, more than 200 such operations have been performed worldwide.

“The method does not generate excessive heat or cold in the body, and can therefore be applied close to blood vessels and vital organs without harming them,” said Dr. Mohamed Faroja, a Hadassah surgeon who learned the method in a British hospital. The operation in Israel, which was performed with the help of Prof. Nahum Goldberg and Dr. Liat Applebaum, was considered a complete success.

“Already on the day after the operation we knew it was successful, and there were only a few scars where the tumour once was. I feel good today and have even gone back to work,” Saznovsky said. “After the operation, Hadassah director-general Prof. Ehud Kokia visited me and I thanked him for saving my life.”

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