2:34 PM EDT, April 19, 2012
A cutting edge treatment for cancer is now available close to home.
Carilion Roanoke Memorial is teaming up with Blue Ridge Cancer Care to offer a treatment that targets tumors in the liver while keeping healthy tissue in tact.
Nerissa Tyeryar is a 30 year old patient who is fighting liver cancer. She did not have any symptoms and went to the hospital for kidney stones when was diagnosed.
Tyeryar has four children, two boys and two girls, ranging in age from five to ten years old. "I was tired. I thought that was just from the kids," Tyeryar said.
Tyeryar cancer is being treated with SIR- spheres, where doctors inject radioactive particles into the artery that supplies blood directly to the liver.
"The blood flow prefererntially takes these radioactive particles to
the tumor because the tumor wants a lot of blood," said Dr. Thomas Bishop, an interventional radiologist with Carilion Clinic. "So these particles prefentially go to the tumor. They get trapped there and treat the tumor."
The radioactive particles target the tumor while keeping healthy tissue in tact.
The treatment is easier for patients to tolerate than chemotherapy, according to Dr. Bishop. So far the results are promising.
"Her CT Scans look great. We were very excited about the results we got initially," said Dr. Bishop.
Dr. Bishop works in conjunction with Doctor Robert Heath, an radiation oncologist with Blue Ridge Cancer Care. Dr. Heath pointed out the changes on an image of Tyeryar's liver which was taken after her first treatment. "It shrunk by about a third in terms of physically measuring the dimensions of the cancer," said Dr. Heath.
"We're seeing modeling throughout the left lobe of the liver which we believe to be necrosis or dying cancer tissue," said Dr. Heath.
While the treatment may not get rid of all of the cancer, it's a powerful new tool to treat cancer in the liver. "This is technology where before they'd have to go to University of Virginia or farther east and now we can offer it in this part of the state," said Dr. Heath.
It's a treatment Tyeryar hopes will continue to shrink her cancer. "I hope they can get it all and be done with it and I can enjoy every minute," said Tyeryar. "It's just been a rough go."
So far the treatment is covered by insurance for tumors in the liver for three types of cancer. It may be available for other types of cancer as well in the future.
If you need more information about a specific case Dr. Health urges you to you consult with your physician and ask that person contact Blue Ridge Cancer Care to see if the patient may be a candidate for this type of treatment.
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