April 13, 2022
At age 32, a seemingly healthy Nicole Leon went to the emergency room for what she thought was a severe bout of food poisoning. Shockingly, physicians found an inoperable, football-sized tumor on her liver. After further testing, Nicole was diagnosed with hepatocellular cancer (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, and told she had six months to live.
Despite their devastation, Nicole and her family refused accept the dire prognosis. After what seemed like endless research, phone calls and additional opinions, she ended up at the University of Chicago Medicine’s Liver Tumor Program. There she met Dr. Talia Baker, who would change her life forever.
Dr. Baker believed that surgical removal was possible. She suggested Nicole first receive treatment with TheraSphere™ Y-90 Glass Microspheres, a therapy also known as radiation embolization, to reduce the size of the tumor so it could be surgically removed. By using the body’s own blood flow to target the cancer with extreme precision and a personalized radiation dosage, TheraSphere also helps minimize the side effects of traditional radiation.
Nicole’s treatment and surgery were successful. Today, she has normal liver function with nearly 100 percent of her liver volume back. Now five years cancer free, Nicole has married her husband Larry, and together they welcomed a healthy baby boy. His name is Baker—in honor of her surgeon. "Dr. Baker and TheraSphere are the reason that I am here today. It was the start of a second chance for me – they saved my life," she said.