NEWS
08/05/2014 09:13 EDT | Updated 10/05/2014 05:59 EDT

SickKids doctors remove teen's tumour without radiation or surgery

A Brampton, Ont., teenager has become the first person in North America to have a benign tumour near his hip removed without radiation or surgery.

Doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto destroyed the tumour 2½ weeks ago by using an MRI machine to focus high intensity ultrasound waves to burn off the growth on Jack Campanelli, 16.

The operation came after a year of crippling pain for him.

"The only way I can describe it was if somebody was to kind of hit my leg with a sledgehammer over and over again," he told the CBC's Michelle Cheung. 

Still, Campanelli didn't like the idea of surgeons cutting into his bone to scrape away the tumour, so when the hospital offered him a chance to be the first person in North America to undergo a new non-invasive procedure, he jumped at the chance.

"I was very interested how it would work and how it wouldn't have an incision on the surface of the skin," he said.

The procedure to remove the tumour took half a day.

James Drake, head of neurosurgery at the hospital, has been leading the research on this type of procedure.

"This is completely radiation free," Drake said.

"We can use it as many times as we want.... It's harmless to the surrounding tissues as long as it's correctly controlled." 

Campanelli is now tumour-free.

"I can do jogging and hiking and stuff like that and it feels great because I don't have to do deal with the pain anymore," he said. The avid hockey player says once he gets the all clear from doctors in four weeks, he plans to lace up his skates.

The hospital, meanwhile, said it will continue its trials on nine other patients and expects to be able to target other tumours in about a year.