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New liver cancer treatment now available on Vancouver Island

Transarterial radioembolization uses radioactive beads that curb tumour growth
Island Health announced another liver cancer treatment, called transarterial radioembolization, will now be available on Vancouver Island. (Black Press Media file photo)

A liver cancer treatment that targets tumours with a high dose of focused radiation, while ignoring healthy tissue, is now available in the Island Health region for those looking for a treatment option close to home.

Liver cancer patients who would have had to travel to other parts of the province to receive the treatment transarterial radioembolization, or TARE, can now receive care on the Island and return the same day.

The treatment uses small beads containing radioactive material to slow down the growth of liver tumours and help alleviate symptoms.

“This procedure is delivered to the tumour through a thin tube called a catheter placed into the hepatic artery that supplies blood to the tumour,” said Dr. Ashley Freeman, medical oncologist with BC Cancer, in a news release.

“A radioactive agent is infused and delivers high-dose radiation inside the liver tumour while minimizing exposure to the rest of the liver. It’s a targeted radiation therapy that can destroy tumour cells and slow the growth of the tumour with minimal side effects, often with a single treatment.”

A team made of radiologists, surgeons, radiologists, hepatologists, physicians, and oncologists determine the unique cancer treatment plans for each patient.

Black Press Media Staff

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