Yttrium 90 (Y90) for Cancer Treatment

At Garnet Health, our oncology team performs the Yttrium 90 (Y-90) radio ablation, otherwise known as radioembolization, a minimally invasive interventional radiology procedure that combines embolization and radiation therapy to help fight liver cancer.

  • Embolization: a minimally invasive treatment in which blood vessels or malformations within blood vessels are occluded, or blocked off, to prevent blood flow.
  • Radiation therapy: the use of a certain type of energy, called ionizing radiation, to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.

By combining these two techniques, our team is able to block the blood supply to the tumor and cancer cells, while also delivering a high dose of radiation directly to the location of the tumor, minimizing damage to surrounding normal tissue.

What To Expect During This Procedure

During this image-guided, minimally invasive procedure, millions of microscopic beads of radioactive isotope are injected into hepatic artery and the blood vessels that feed the tumor. These beads become lodged at the tumor site delivering the indented dose of radiation.

The procedure is performed in the Interventional Radiology suite with both an Interventional Radiologist and a Radiation Oncologist calculating and delivering the dose - typically utilizing X-ray equipment, a catheter and the microspheres.

Using X-ray imaging, the radiologist and oncologist are able to visualize the blood vessels and effectively deliver a pinpoint dose directly to the intended location -  killing cancer cells, shrinking the tumor and preserving healthy tissue. The radiation from yttrium-90 continually decreases over a two-week period but continue to work for months after they are injected. The tiny microspheres remain in the liver without causing any problems.

Patient Benefits of YTTRIUM 90

Due to the ability to deliver such a direct and effective radiation dose to the tumor site, the biggest benefit to the patient is fewer procedural side effects and an improved quality of life. The procedure is also minimally invasive, meaning that no surgical incision or consequential post-operative stitching or extensive recovery is needed. In some cases, it may allow for more curative options such as chemotherapy or surgery to be incorporated within the patient's treatment plan. 

Your physician will advise you to the success of the procedure when it is completed, perform follow-up visits and analysis (commonly with further diagnostic testing), and advise on next steps for treatment.

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