There are not many treatment options for people who have mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer. Now, doctors at the Mayo Clinic are trying something new they're freezing the tumor before taking it out.
Mary Kuntz's family made her a love chain filled with an inspirational message for each day she undergoes treatment for mesothelioma.
The 68-year-old grandmother was diagnosed with the very rare, very deadly form of cancer last summer. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic asked her to be the first patient in their trial using cryotherapy to freeze part of the tumor.
"My initial thoughts were hmm this might be a little risky," said Mary.
Doctors sprayed liquid nitrogen to freeze Mary's tumor. Two weeks later, surgeons removed it. The goal is to trigger Mary's immune system to fight any remaining cancer cells.
"This is the early explorative stage where were just looking at what is this doing to the body, how is it stimulating the immune response," said Dr. Shandra Blackmon, Mayo Clinic surgeon.
Doctors say cryotherapy may also preserve the lung, potentially leading to an easier recovery.
"It also is less toxic and requires less aggressive surgery afterwards," said Dr. Tobias Peikert, Mayo Clinic pulmonologist.
Mary won't know for a while if the cryotherapy worked. In the meantime, she is overwhelmed by the support from her family and friends.
"Why should they be you know sending all this love to me? There's a lot of people that have a lot of problems," said Mary.
She hopes being part of the trial will not only help her but help others with the same problem. That cancer is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.
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