Extra year for liver cancer patients
Utrecht's University Medical Centre has developed a new liver cancer treatment. While it doesn’t cure the cancer, it allows patients to live longer and more comfortably.
In the “Holmium 166 radio embolisation” treatment, radioactive “seeds” are inserted into the liver via the hepatic artery in the groin. The little balls of radioactive material get stuck in the capillaries around the tumor and over the course of a week radiate the tumor, eventually killing it.
The treatment is at present only being used for liver cancer, but researchers are looking into the possibility that it will also be effective for other forms of cancer.
Though the treatment is not curative, it does present significant advantages – patients live, on average, one year longer, they can avoid chemotherapy and all its accompanying side effects and they have significant improvements in their quality of life.
Most of the patients receiving this treatment have metastatic cancer and respond poorly to chemotherapy.
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