For patients with liver cancer, a new treatment at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, offers hope.
In Arkansas, 15-hundred people a year are diagnosed with liver cancer. Only 40-percent of those are curable with surgery, so the procedure is now an option for the other 60-percent of patients.
Gordon Rice is battling liver cancer that spread from his colon. He's already spent a grueling year and a half going through chemotherapy.
"Whew that's tough, it drains you, makes you not want to smile. It's rough," he says.
At a certain point, doctors say, every patient can no longer take it.
"I'd taken all the chemo my body could stand," says Rice.
Gordon says the news left him depressed, let down.
"When the disease fails to respond to chemo, an alternative is needed, and before now there's been nothing," explains Dr. Michael Beheshti, Chief of Interventional Radiology at UAMS.
A procedure at UAMS involves doctors injecting a radioactive compound directly into a tumor.
"We inject tiny little glass beads a third the width of human hair. Millions of them are injected into the tumor," Dr. Beheshti adds.
In some patients, the procedure is a cure-all, and they go totally into remission.
In Gordon's case, it did work, but only on one side of his liver. The cancer still showed up on the other side.
But doctors treated him a second time and today he's completely free of disease and living an absolutely normal and happy life.
"Different outlook. You know everyday is wonderful," Rice says.
For Gordon it means getting to spend another Christmas with family.
"Yeah, it is a gift," says Rice.
It's a gift for which Rice says he could never say "thank you," enough.
Click here to watch a UAMS doctor explain the TheraSphere Liver Cancer Therapy, Radioembolization.
Click here for more information on the procedure.
To speak with someone at UAMS about the procedure, call (501) 686-6124, click here for the UAMS Radiology website, or click here to send an email.