Local Health Alert: Y90 Cancer Treatment

For patients battling cancer, quality of life is often compromised through care. A localized option here in the Mid-South is giving patients with liver tumors another choice to enhance their quality of life.

Dr. Henry Dalsania of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Desoto, says when chemotherapy, radiation and even surgery doesn’t suffice, he and other medical experts are offering the Y90 Treatment. “It consists of radioactive microspheres,” he says.

The localized therapy, won’t impact other parts of the body and works to control the progression of the disease. “It’s mainly for patients who have disease or tumors in their livers and specifically tumors that have metastasized, or grown out from colon cancer, or rectal cancer,” Dalsania explains. He says because the liver has a unique blood supply, doctors can target the tumors and preserve more healthy tissue.
The process to insert the beads takes about 90 minutes, but is minimally invasive. The targeted treatment delivers millions of tiny radioactive beads to fight the tumor’s growth and are injected directly into the liver artery.

While doctors say the treatment improves quality of life, the isn’t a cure. “This actually acts in conjunction with chemotherapy as well as an alternative to chemotherapy,” says Dalsania.

The beads can cause some tumors to shrink, which then allows, in some cases, for them to be surgically removed. Dalsania says research shows improvements in patients are statistically significant.

Using only chemotherapy, analysts found that liver tumors progressed within about 14 to 15 months. Adding Y90, bumped that time up to around 22 months.

Following the insertion, patients are typically discharged from the hospital within 4 to 6 hours. Side effects from the treatment can include flu-like symptoms in some patients.