Patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver now have another treatment option at Silver Cross Hospital called selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT). This revolutionary therapy is an FDA-approved, non-surgical treatment that uses tiny beads called microspheres to deliver radiation directly to tumors in the liver.
“The microspheres contain the radioactive element Y-90, which is delivered through the hepatic artery and directly into the liver’s blood vessels to kill cancer cells,” explains Feraz Rahman, M.D., one of two board-certified interventional radiologists who perform the treatment at Silver Cross. “By directing high doses of radiation precisely into the tumor, healthy liver tissue can be preserved.”
Of the nearly 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, at least 60 percent will see their cancer spread to the liver. SIRT is only suitable for patients whose liver is the only site of cancer, or the major site of the disease. SIRT has no effect on tumors outside the liver.
“Clinical studies have shown that when used in combination with chemotherapy, Y-90 microspheres can shrink liver tumors more than chemotherapy alone, improve quality of life and increase life expectancy,” adds Ashish Vyas, M.D., who also performs the procedure at Silver Cross.
Due to the liver tumor's unique blood supply, millions of tiny spheres are delivered directly to the tumors, blocking the supply of blood to the cancer cells and delivering a high dose of radiation. SIRT can help extend the lives of patients with inoperable tumors and improve their quality of life. For a small number of patients, treatment can shrink the tumor enough that it can be removed by surgery at a later date.
Normally, patients can be discharged within four to six hours of the procedure and are able to resume normal daily activities two to three days after treatment.
For more information, visit www.silvercross.org
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