Radioembolization is a combination of two different types of cancer treatment. Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Embolization is an interventional radiology procedure used to block blood flow to the arteries that feed the tumors, thus starving them.
Y90 Radioembolization combines these two modes of therapy. As with other forms of embolization, tiny spheres are injected into the arteries, blocking them and limiting the flow of blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to the tumors. In addition, the spheres contain a radioactive isotope called Ytrium-90, which further shrinks the tumors by irradiating them. Once the microspheres are in place, they begin to emit radiation, killing the cancer cells. This prevents the further spread of the disease, and reduces symptoms. The radiation from the Ytrium-90 naturally decreases over a period of 30 days, and the microspheres do not require removal once they are depleted.
- No surgical incision is necessary, only a nick in the skin so small that it does not even require stitches. Because of this, the procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, with no need for hospitalization, general anesthesia, and long recovery times.
- For patients whose tumors are inoperable, Y90 treatment can extend their lives from months to years and improve their quality of life. Because Y90 can be used in conjunction with other therapies, this extended time may allow some of these curative options to work.
- Y90 radioembolization can deliver higher doses of radiation to the tumors than standard external beam therapy, while producing fewer side effects.
Limitations of Y90 radioembolization
- Radioembolization might not be appropriate for all patients, depending on the condition of their liver.
- Radioembolization is a treatment, not a cure. Studies show that approximately 70%–95% of patients show improvements. Depending on the type and location of the liver cancer, it may improve survival rates.
To learn more about Y90 radioembolization or to schedule a consultation with the best liver cancer experts in Denver, call our offices today at 720-250-9799 or make an appointment online on our website. We'll be happy to answer your questions.