As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend life as we know it, patient care is becoming more complex. With many elective surgeries and procedures cancelled, a backlog of people await the care they need. At the same time, some are actively avoiding healthcare facilities for fear of contracting the disease. And while rigorous safeguards are put in place to stop the virus’s spread; questions remain around how and when patients can safely receive care.
These challenges make clear the dual importance of treatments that address patient concerns and alleviate the burden on providers—both without sacrificing quality or perpetuating delays in access to care. Part of the solution may be found in minimally invasive approaches.
The TheraSphere™ Y-90 Glass Microspheres (TheraSphere)—a therapy for liver cancer—is one such example. As an outpatient procedure, TheraSphere allows patients to receive treatment and be discharged the same day.
Through an incision, about the size of a pencil-tip, millions of tiny glass beads containing radioactive Yttrium-90 are injected through a catheter into the affected area. The glass beads lodge directly into the tumor, destroying the cells from within, all with minimal impact to the surrounding healthy liver tissue.
For many people, liver cancer requires surgery, but surgery has not been a consistent option in the pandemic. Yet waiting can be dangerous, giving the tumor time to grow and potentially become inoperable. Physicians can use TheraSphere for bridging—a treatment that prevents tumor growth, working to maintain the patient’s health while they wait for surgery.
In some cases, Therasphere can be used to treat the cancer altogether. For Walter, a 71-year-old Manhattan resident who was diagnosed with a liver tumor in late 2019, the prospect of surgery frightened him, so his doctor referred him to an interventional oncologist for treatment with TheraSphere.
Walter received his second TheraSphere treatment as an outpatient procedure, during the height of the pandemic, in New York City. For him, the decision to pursue treatment with TheraSphere eased his concerns—and may have saved his life.
Safety information for the TheraSphere Y-90 Glass Microspheres therapy is available here.