Procedure Targets Colon the Liver

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Jill Chadwick

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             The statistics are sobering … colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and 130,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year.  Because colon cancer too often goes undetected, it can to the spread to the liver.  In the past, such a diagnosis was grim.  Today, interventional radiologists are helping people live longer through a minimally invasive procedure called SIRspheres

            “This isn’t the old beam radiation people think of,” Zachery Collins, MD, interventional radiologist at The University of Kansas Health System said. “This is particle radiation that is deployed through the blood stream to target the tumors in the liver.”  The procedure, although minimally invasive to the patient, is elaborate and can only be successful with the expertise of a complex cancer team such as The University of Kansas Cancer Center.  

            “We don’t have a lot of cures for cancer,” Thomas Fahrbach, MD, interventional radiologist at The University of Kansas Health System said. “What we’re trying to do is turn cancer into a chronic disease process.”  Patients who undergo SIRspheres to treat colon cancer in the liver will have no scars, no recovery, no hospital stay and will greatly improve their quality of life.  The procedure is considered a pinhole size surgery performed in an outpatient setting.  First, the patient undergoes a mapping much like a heart catheterization to locate the precise location of the liver tumors.  After some time, patients undergo the procedure to deploy the tiny spheres carrying the particle radiation. Both Dr. Collins and Dr. Fahrbach perform SIRspheres at The University of Kansas Health System … their program is the second highest volume for this procedure in the nation.

            In the video below, both doctors show and tell how SIRspheres is done and Gilbert Marshall, a patient, comments about undergoing the procedure.