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New Treatment Option for Advanced Liver Cancer in Hampton Roads 

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New Selective Internal Radiation Therapy Option Added at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital

Norfolk, Virginia (April 30, 2013) Doctors with the Sentara Cancer Network collaborate to expand treatment options for patients with inoperable advanced liver cancer. A new procedure using Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) is now available at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, adding TheraSphere® to the targeted radiation therapies offered. This new therapy can now be offered to more patients with advanced primary liver cancer who may not have had similar options before.

Millions of tiny radioactive glass beads known as TheraSphere are delivered directly to the tumor site. The tiny beads containing radioactive yttrium-90 are sent through the blood stream with one mission: to target and destroy liver cancer cells. Targeted therapies like TheraSphere destroy cancerous cells while preserving surrounding healthy cells.

TheraSphere is generally an outpatient procedure, not requiring hospitalization. Side effects are milder than many other liver cancer treatments.

Partners in Cancer Care Guide Treatment

TheraSphere through the Sentara Cancer Network at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital represents collaboration among numerous specialists including radiation oncologists and interventional radiologists. Patients being considered for this treatment are evaluated by both specialties. Individual patient cases are reviewed by a prospective liver cancer tumor conference routinely attended by more than a dozen experts in liver cancer treatment who help guide care for patients with liver cancer.

Referring physician or patients with questions can contact 1-888-220-2214 for more information.

How TheraSphere works

Like other selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT), this is a non-surgical, outpatient therapy in which a catheter or tube in is placed in the femoral artery of the upper thigh. The tube is threaded through the major blood vessel to the liver, and the tiny beads are released directly to the tumor. The beads are radioactive and radiate the tumor, destroying the cancerous cells from the inside while sparing other cells. This therapy can safely deliver many times more radiation than conventional techniques and limit the exposure of nearby tissue to radiation.

TheraSphere can extend survival, sometimes for years, and improve patients’ quality of life. In some cases, it can also shrink the liver tumors enough to allow for surgical removal.

Other Selective Internal Radiation Options

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital was the first hospital in 2008 to begin using Selective Internal Radiation (SIR) Spheres Therapy where microscopic radioactive resin beads were used to target advanced liver cancer that had spread to the liver.  The Sentara Norfolk General Hospital team has performed 88 procedures using SIR-Spheres, a similar yttrium-90 product to treat primary liver tumors with resin beads versus glass.

Related Links:
Sentara Cancer Network

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy
TheraSphere

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