When it comes to cancer, there are four pathways available for treatment: chemotherapy/biologics, radiation, surgery, and non-surgical intervention. At ECCO Medical, Dr’s Nutting and Kovaleski specialize in minimally invasive therapies for a wide variety of cancers. Because October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month, ECCO wants to empower patients with the knowledge that many liver cancer treatment options exist.
What Does the Liver Do?
The liver is the largest internal organ of the body. It’s responsible for helping to break down and digest food by creating bile, helps the body absorb nutrients and breaks down toxins in the bloodstream. Divided into two parts, the liver resides under the right ribs, just beneath the right lung. A cancer that starts in the liver is called “primary liver cancer” – of which there are several varieties. The majority of ECCO Medical cancer treatments involve tumors that have moved (metastasized) to, or originated from, the liver. This includes, but is not limited to:
Primary Liver Cancers
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
- Colon cancer
- Neuroendocrine tumor
- Pancreatic cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Uterine carcinoma
- Ovarian Cancer (the list goes on)
Liver Cancer Treatment at ECCO Medical
Most often, ECCO physicians will treat cancer with an interventional technique called “embolization,” which means that they go into the arteries and cut off the blood supply to the tumors, thereby starving them of oxygen and causing them to shrink or disappear. This process uses tiny, near-microscopic particles to permanently block the blood flow to certain areas or tumors in the body.
For some cancers, ECCO uses specialized particles that can add an additional treatment other than just cutting off the blood supply. For instance, Y90 embolization is a targeted treatment option that not only starves the tumors, but also radiates them from the inside out. Microscopic radioactive spheres travel through a catheter directly into the blood vessels that feed the tumor, simultaneously cutting off the blood supply and radiating the tumor at the same time.
Once there, they emit radiation for a period of about a month, killing the tumors from the inside out. The name Y90 comes from tiny beads that contain a radioactive substance called Yttrium-90.
Currently, ECCO is the only outpatient clinic in Colorado capable of performing the Y90 radioembolization procedure. Dr’s Nutting and Kovaleski have performed over 4000 of these procedures and train other physicians from around the country.
*Feature image courtesy of Image by Pikovit44 / iStock / Getty Images Plus.
ECCO Medical – 8080 Park Meadows Dr Suite 150, Lone Tree, CO 80124