(10/14/13) - Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease. Only six percent of patients survive five years or longer. But doctors have found a way to help patients when cancer spreads to the liver, and options are limited. They are cooking away tumors.
As a self-esteem coach Gwen McCane teaches others about confidence, "don't ever apologize for what god gave you."
As fate would have it, Gwen had to follow some of her own advice and stay positive, when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, "not one time did I think I was going to die!"
Gwen had chemo and radiation, but her cancer spread to her liver. Then interventional radiologist, Dr. Gloria Hwang told Gwen about a new therapy that could cook away her liver tumors.
"Someone actually takes a microwave antenna and sticks it at the end of a needle and sends out waves and allows tissue to cook," Dr. Hwang explains.
Using imaging to guide them, doctors insert tiny needles into the tumor. The microwave heat, which can reach 112 degrees, destroys the cancer in about 10 minutes.
The treatment worked for Gwen. Her liver tumors are gone for now, so she can focus on helping others feel as good as she does.
"People always say, ah, you don't look 73. Well, I think this is the way 73 is supposed to look, " Gwen says.
If her tumors come back, she can receive the ablation treatment again.
Patients stay overnight after the procedure. Dr. Hwang says nausea from the anesthesia is a common side effect.
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