ANNANDALE, Va. (WUSA9) --A new promising treatment for breast cancer is non-surgical and practically painless.
The only doctor trained in the technique has treated the first patient in this region.
It's called Cryoablation, which means freezing the tumor.
Dr. David Weintritt's patient is Barb Tyler of Annandale. All she had to do for the treatment was go to his office. It was fast, and nearly pain-free. Only local anesthesia was used. No chemotherapy or radiation is needed.
"I've had no pains, it was wonderful," said Tyler. She is a survivor. At 75 years old, she's beaten back 11 cancers, mostly with surgery.
She had to have her colon removed. Then, a month ago, a mammogram found a small, malignant tumor in her breast.
"I said, 'Dr. Weintritt, I don't know if I can do surgery. I've been through a lot lately,'" explained Tyler.
Fortunately for Barb, Dr. David Weintritt had something else to offer.
"We call it the ice ball," Weintritt explained.
Dr. Weintritt, a surgical oncologist, is the only doctor in D.C. Maryland or Virginia trained in Sonarus's Cryoablation procedure to treat early stage breast tumors. It freezes the tumor by using a probe and injecting liquid nitrogen.
The technology uses a probe that is able to channel the liquid nitrogen to flow within a precise area of the needle so that it creates a freeze zone and does not expose the patient directly to liquid nitrogen.
A study show's it's a promising treatment, said Weintritt.
"If their cancer was one centimeter or smaller, they had about a 94 percent success rate in destroying the cancer with this technology," said Weintritt.
In Barb's initial MRI, you could see a mass. Then, for the follow up visit two weeks later, Weintritt said it was gone.
Dr. Weintritt says he learned the procedure to provide options to his patients.
"Our job is to take care of our patients and part of that is to advance science," he said.
For Barb and her husband Tip, it was a breeze, and quite a relief given everything else she's been through.
"I won't have a lump. It'll be completely like it was when it heals," said Tyler.
Through more follow ups, and MRIs down the road, they will see if the tumor is gone for good. If it comes back, surgery could still be an option.
For more patients to be treated, it'll take more doctors to be trained.