TheraSphere is a new form of cancer treatment that directly treats tumors in the liver using small, radioactive glass beads, measuring one-third the diameter of a strand of human hair. During this procedure, the catheter is inserted into the femoral artery of the leg and is wound up into the hepatic artery, which is the major blood supply to the liver. The microspheres are then inserted into the catheter where they can enter the smaller blood vessels supplying the cancerous tumor, and block the flow of blood. It is here that the lodged microspheres emit radiation, killing the cancer cells in the tumor. Overall, TheraSphere can cause fewer and milder side effects than other current treatments and offers the convenience of outpatient therapy. TheraSphere may be coupled with chemotherapy to try to improve results. Hospitalization may be required if hepatic artery chemotherapy infusion or chemoembolization is used in addition to TheraSphere.
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