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Focal Tumour Ablation

Focal Tumour Ablation

Focal ablation is a minimally invasive treatment option for patients with certain cancers, including cancers of the lung, liver and kidney. There are several types of focal ablation procedures, which involve directly applying thermal (extreme heat or cold) or chemical therapies to the specific tumours and surrounding areas, including:

  • Thermal ablation, which includes radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and microwave ablation
  • Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization, also known as TACE

Focal Tumour Ablation Recommendations Report

In 2014, CCO created a Focal Tumour Ablation Advisory Committee to develop recommendations for the organization and delivery of selected focal tumour ablation services for cancer in Ontario with a focus on access, quality and funding. With patients, clinicians and administrators at the table, the Committee was asked to develop recommendations based on the following principles:

  • Provide appropriate access to high quality cancer treatment services
  • Optimize care and resource utilization across the province

The scope of these recommendations includes thermal ablation (RFA and microwave ablation) for lung, liver and renal tumours and TACE for liver tumours. Other emerging technologies, such as cryoablation, and disease sites (types of cancer) will be considered in the future.

View a Summary of Recommendations.

To request a copy of the Focal Tumour Ablation in Ontario: Recommendations Report 2015, send an email to

This Recommendations Report was supported by an evidence summary produced by our Program in Evidence-Based Care. Go to Focal Ablation Reports to download the evidence summary.

Focal Tumour Ablation Services in Ontario

In order to implement the recommendations of the 2015 Report, Regional Cancer Programs worked together to submit service plans focused on ensuring equitable access for all Ontarians. A Provincial Plan for Focal Tumour Ablation Services was developed under the guidance of the Interventional Oncology Steering Committee. This plan organizes resources and supports the provision of services so that all patients have coordinated access to high quality, expert, multidisciplinary care.

Vertebral Augmentation Services in Ontario

Patients with multiple myeloma and spinal metastases from soft tissue primary cancers, including breast, prostate, and lung cancers, may develop vertebral compression fractures. Bone loss caused by specific chemotherapy and radiation treatment protocols can also result in these fractures. They can occur at multiple vertebral levels and can cause mass effects on the spinal cord and nerves as well as pain, comorbidities, spinal deformities and compromised lung function. Left untreated, a patient might suffer nerve compression which could result in gastrointestinal or urinary incontinence, lack of or reduced sensation, paralysis or reduced mobility and balance problems.

Treatment options for cancer patients with vertebral compression fractures include vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty.

  • Vertebroplasty: Bone cement is injected through a hollow needle into the fractured bone.
  • Kyphoplasty: A balloon is inserted and inflated through a needle to create a cavity to compact the fractured bone prior to cement injection. Use of the balloon results in improved control of the cement deposit as well as variable height restoration to the collapsed vertebra.

Guidance for Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty for Cancer Patients in Ontario: Recommendations Report 2017

In 2016, we put together the Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty Working Group to develop recommendations for vertebral augmentation services for cancer patients. Working with clinical experts we determined the criteria for patient selection and service provider requirements to ensure access to high quality, effective and sustainable care.

Moving Forward

We will be working together with the Interventional Oncology Steering Committee and regions to support the transition to a more organized, integrated and multidisciplinary model of interventional radiology services across the province. In order to meet future needs, provider sites will work closely with us to plan for expected growth and be aware of emerging technologies. A comprehensive measurement framework will be put into place to ensure that Ontario cancer patients have access to the highest quality interventional radiology services.

Last modified: Wed, Aug 30, 2017
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