The Interventional Oncologists and Radiologists at Diagnostic Imaging, Inc. are among the first physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to offer TheraSphere®, an innovative, new therapy that delivers radiation directly to tumors in the liver using tiny glass beads called microspheres.
What are the possible treatments of my liver cancer?
Fortunately, many options exist today for the treatment of cancer. Your physicians will guide you through these various treatment methods including surgery, chemotherapy, external beam radiation, and catheter-directed treatment. The fundamental belief behind our specialty is minimally invasive, highly-precise treatment of cancer. By placing the radiation source directly in the tumor, it will allow for maximum treatment effect with relative sparing of normal tissue. Extensive experience already exists with this type of treatment for prostate cancer, known as prostate seeds or brachytherapy. We are now applying this approach to the treatment of liver cancer.
How is the procedure performed?
TheraSphere® is delivered through a small plastic tube, called a catheter, which is placed into a small artery in the groin. One of our highly skilled interventional physicians will advance the catheter into the branch of the liver artery that feeds the tumor. Millions of these microspheres will then be infused through the catheter into the tumor’s blood supply. Once in the liver, these microspheres get trapped in the small blood vessels that feed the tumor and radiation will be delivered directly to the tumor, sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
Do I still need systemic chemotherapy?
Liver cancer is different in each patient. Thus, each patient’s treatment plan must be individualized for the best results. This means that multiple forms of treatment may be used to treat your cancer. Our interventional oncologists will work directly with your medical oncologist in determining an ideal treatment plan for you.
How soon after the treatment can I go home?
TheraSphere® is an outpatient treatment that offers patients with inoperable cancer of the liver a potentially less toxic treatment option compared to traditional chemotherapy and radiation. The treatment is also ideal for patients with chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis. Since the radiation poses little danger to others, there’s no need to be isolated in the hospital. Patients may interact with family and friends immediately after the treatment and are typically discharged the same day of treatment.
What are the side effects of the treatment?
When an experienced interventional physician performs the procedure, patients should not have any serious side effects from TheraSphere®. The most common side effect is fatigue for the first one or two weeks following the treatment. A small dose of steroids will help during this period. Other medications may be provided to you depending upon your specific anatomy and disease process. Other side effects related to systemic chemotherapy such as hair loss, nausea, and vomiting do not typically occur.
Will my insurance cover this procedure?
Medicare and most insurance companies will generally cover the cost of TheraSphere®. Our caring and knowledgeable staff will work with each patient to ensure the entire process is carefree.
Additional Therasphere Resources