Changing the Way We Treat Cancer using Interventional Radiology

Minimally Invasive Technology Aids Sky Ridge Doctor in Extending Lives

Whipping around a racecar track at 140 miles an hour, he in the passenger seat, a NASCAR driver at the wheel, Dr. Charles Nutting can describe the experience only as thrilling. But the most remarkable moment came when he glanced at another car flying by and saw the joy in the eyes of a former patient peering at him through the window.

"I look over, and she’s just waving at me, trying so hard to get my attention," says Dr. Nutting, grinning as he recounts the tale that happened after a cancer-patient conference a few months ago (2010). Conference-goers were treated to a speedway experience as a special grand finale.

The woman had come to Dr. Nutting, now a noted Sky Ridge Medical Center Interventional Oncologist, with little hope after other doctors said there was nothing else they could do for the breast cancer that had spread to her liver. She’d been given just months to live. That was eight years ago. "It’s a great success story and the reason I do what I do," says Dr. Nutting.

Not all stories are as notable, and the woman still has liver cancer. It’s just stabilized. But what Dr. Nutting is doing, with the support of Sky Ridge Medical Center, is marching into the high-tech world of cancer care, where once rapidly fatal cancers are being treated in a long-term fashion while maintaining patients' quality of life.

A Technological Difference

As nurses prep his next patient, Dr. Nutting proudly shows off his newest equipment, which, together, makes his interventional radiology suite at Sky Ridge one of a kind. "We're on the leading edge of minimally-invasive cancer work. We have patients flying in from around the world," Dr. Nutting says. "The hospital provides us the most state-of-the-art equipment that allows me to provide life-extending therapy for cancer patients."

Interventional radiology, an image-guided, minimally-invasive method of treating medical disorders non-surgically, involves threading tiny catheters, often inserted in the groin, through vessels to reach areas like the kidneys, lungs and liver. With this type of treatment, success at accurately traveling the maze of blood vessels in the body to reach a target, or tumor, depends largely on the quality of image-guided technology.

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