According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of Americans who are diagnosed with liver cancer is rising. Approximately 33,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with liver cancer each year, and about 27,000 die from the disease.
The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 760 liver cancer deaths in Georgia in 2020.
Archbold Memorial Hospital’s Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center, in conjunction with Thomasville’s VITA Surgery and VITA Vascular, is now offering patients diagnosed with liver cancer a new therapy treatment.
"It is typically appropriate for patients for whom surgery is not possible, patients with multiple tumors in both lobes of the liver who are not transplant candidates and in conjunction or sequenced with immunotherapy,” said Steve Johnson, MD, radiation oncologist at Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center. “Therasphere also has a significant role as a bridge treatment to control disease in patients for whom liver transplant is planned. It can also be used to enlarge the other lobe of the liver in patients who are to undergo only a partial liver removal."
Therasphere is a treatment consisting of tiny radioactive glass beads delivered directly into the liver tumor.
“Therasphere is internal radiation,” said Dr. Frederick Johnson, interventional radiologist at VITA Surgery and VITA Vascular. “We are able to inject the radiation directly into the tumor through a catheter that is placed in an artery that we can access from either the groin or the wrist. There’s no cutting, there’s no incision, and it’s done through a very small pinhole about two millimeters in size.”
Therasphere is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure and patients can typically resume daily activities within 24 to 48 hours.
“Something that we take pride in is to be able to offer this treatment for patients, so that it is convenient for them and they don’t have to drive hours away,” said Dr. Frederick Johnson. “That’s our goal at VITA and that’s the goal at the Oncology Center to be able to offer cutting edge contemporary treatment.”
Photo caption: Therasphere seen being delivered via a guidewire through the hepatic artery for targeted, localized radiation directly to the liver tumor.