The liver is the largest internal organ of the body. It has many functions, including cleansing the blood, removing toxins, producing bile, and helping the body absorb fats. With such an essential role in the function of the human body, learning you have liver cancer may come as a shock. Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer occurring in men in the world, with approximately 580,000 new cases reported each year. Most often, liver cancer is caused by cirrhosis of the liver, a condition in which the liver becomes scarred and weakened. Depending on the type and stage of liver cancer, Yttrium-90-labeled SIRT (Sodium Iodide Radiotherapy) can be used as an effective treatment.
What is Y-90 SIRT Therapy?
Y-90 Selective Internal Radiation Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that combines embolization and radiation therapy to treat primary and secondary liver cancer. This form of treatment involves using tiny beads, called microspheres, that deliver radiation directly to tumors in the liver. The microspheres are embedded with radioactive element Y-90 and delivered through the hepatic artery into the liver’s blood vessels. This allows the radiation to kill cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue in the liver.
Who is a Candidate for Y-90 SIRT Therapy?
Each year in the United States, about 24,000 men and 10,000 women are diagnosed with liver cancer. For multiple reasons, many patients may not be candidates for the surgical removal of liver tumors. Their tumors may be too large, too numerous, or the tumors may be near important blood vessels. For patients that do not qualify for surgery or liver transplants, Y-90 SIRT offers a beneficial option.
Y-90 SIRT therapy, or radioembolization, is a palliative treatment for tumors that were initially formed in the liver (primary liver cancer) or have metastasized to the liver from another part of the body (secondary liver cancer). Palliative treatments such as this do not provide a cure for liver cancer, but they have been shown to slow the growth of tumors and alleviate symptoms.
Benefits of Using Y-90 SIRT Therapy to Treat Liver Cancer
Besides slowing the growth of tumors in the liver, Y-90 SIRT offers other benefits such as:
- Outpatient treatment – no hospitalization required
- Minimal to no side effects
- Ability to resume normal activities within a day or two
- Extends overall survival rate
- Potentially downsizes tumors for liver resection, ablation, or transplantation
- Provides relief from many symptoms
- Can be administered either during a chemotherapy-free interval, in a salvage setting, or as an alternative to local or systemic treatments
In addition, Y-90 SIRT therapy can be synergistically combined with other drug therapies for maximum efficacy against liver tumors. Y-90 has also been proven to increase the amount of time liver cancer is stable and not growing, without adversely affecting patients’ quality of life.
At USA Oncology Centers, our main priority is to ensure our patients receive the treatment they truly need. If you have been diagnosed with primary liver cancer and want to learn more about the treatments offered by us, reach out to our team by calling 855.870.4747 or scheduling an initial consultation with our world renown interventional oncologists.
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