Radiofrequency ablation for cancer is a minimally invasive procedure that uses electrical energy and heat to destroy cancer cells.

During radiofrequency ablation for cancer, imaging tests are used to guide a thin needle through the skin or through an incision and into the cancer tissue. High-frequency energy passes through the needle and causes the surrounding tissue to heat up, killing the nearby cells.

Radiofrequency ablation is sometimes used to treat cancers in the:

  • Bone
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Prostate

Radiofrequency ablation for cancer is typically an option when surgery isn't possible, such as if you have other health problems that make surgery risky or if you have several small tumors in an organ.

Radiofrequency ablation may also be an option for treating precancerous cells in the esophagus that are associated with Barrett's esophagus. Radiofrequency ablation is one of several types of ablation therapy used to treat a wide range of conditions.

  • Collaboration. At Mayo Clinic, radiologists form a multidisciplinary team with surgeons, oncologists and radiation oncologists to provide whole-person care for people undergoing radiofrequency ablation for cancer. Other professionals are included as needed.
  • Experience. Mayo Clinic radiologists have extensive experience performing radiofrequency ablation. Each year, Mayo Clinic radiologists perform more than 200 radiofrequency ablation procedures for people with cancer.
  • Access to the latest. Mayo Clinic radiologists are studying new ways of using radiofrequency ablation to treat cancer. People who seek care at Mayo Clinic may choose to participate in studies of radiofrequency ablation.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognizes scientific excellence and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

At Mayo Clinic, specialists in radiology form a multidisciplinary team with experts in surgery, hematology/oncology and radiation oncology to care for people considering radiofrequency ablation for cancer. Other experts are included as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic, specialists in radiology form a multidisciplinary team with experts in surgery, hematology/oncology and radiation oncology to care for people considering radiofrequency ablation for cancer. Other experts are included as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

At Mayo Clinic, specialists in radiology form a multidisciplinary team with experts in surgery, oncology and radiation oncology to care for people considering radiofrequency ablation for cancer. Other experts are included as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic radiologists are studying ways to improve and expand the use of radiofrequency ablation for cancer. Learn more about radiology research.

Cancer research is conducted in coordination with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center receives funding from the National Cancer Institute and is designated as a comprehensive cancer center — recognition for an institution's scientific excellence and multidisciplinary resources focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on radiofrequency ablation for cancer on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

March 12, 2015