South Florida Vascular Associates South Florida Vascular Associates

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Providing New Hope to Patients with Colon Cancer that Has Spread to the Liver

If you or a loved one has colorectal cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the liver, it is important to learn the facts and evaluate treatment options.  A diagnosis of colorectal liver metastases can be overwhelming, but there is hope.

At South Florida Vascular Associates we offer a minimally invasive cancer treatment radioembolization using yttrium 90 (Y90) beads. This non-surgical treatment is most commonly used for advanced stage liver cancer (primary or metastatic). Y-90 beads are used in targeted radiation therapy, also known as selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) that selectively delivers a dose of internal radiation to liver tumors.

 Due to the liver tumor's unique blood supply, millions of tiny spheres are delivered directly to the tumors while sparing healthy liver tissue. The treatment requires a small incision in the groin and is administered via a very small flexible tube (microcatheter) into the liver.

Treatment Goals & Patient Benefits:
Extend life
Increase the time until other treatments are needed
Shrink tumor size and in some cases allow for removal of tumor
Improve quality of life
Give fewer side effects
Provide symptom relief by surgery
Slow tumor growth

Published on  Heather’s Story: Colon Cancer that Spread to the Liver 

As a mother of five, Heather Bishop knows how to take on anything that life throws her way. However, on August 7, 2014, Heather learned of a new challenge she would have to face: stage IV colon cancer.

Earlier in 2014 Heather noticed that many of the symptoms she was experiencing were closely associated to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, so she decided to schedule a doctor’s appointment. She explained to the doctor how she was feeling and what symptoms she noticed. While the doctor took note of these symptoms, he noticed a hard area under Heather’s rib cage. This area made it difficult for Heather to sit up straight, but she didn’t feel any pain. A CT scan was scheduled immediately and shortly thereafter a colonoscopy.

Heather soon learned that she had a tumor in her colon. Her liver was covered and the tumors had metastasized to her spine, skull, and hip. The doctor acknowledged that it was possible she could also have tumors in her lungs, but unfortunately the tumors were too small to conduct a biopsy.
At the end of August, Heather started chemotherapy. Although she was going through chemotherapy, the amount of cancer discovered in Heather’s liver concerned her doctor. He recommended she look into Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT). After consulting another doctor that had experience using SIR-Spheres® Y-90 resin microspheres, the doctors agreed that Heather was a great candidate. During off weeks of chemotherapy, Heather went in for her SIRT treatment. If she was more fatigued than normal, she didn’t notice. Out of all of the procedures and treatments, Heather believed that the SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres interrupted her life the least. She didn’t notice pain or discomfort. Instead, she felt remarkably better. Side effects of SIRT are generally mild, including tiredness, loss of appetite, mild fever, stomach pain, sickness, injection site soreness and diarrhea. There is no hair loss with this treatment. Most side effects following a SIRT procedure are minor, but a small number can be serious. Every patient is different in how he or she reacts to a treatment.
In late November Heather had her last procedure. Her father came to help with her five children as she recovered. By mid-December, Heather felt well enough to take care of her family. She still had help with meals and household responsibilities, but for the most part Heather could take care of herself and her children and even went on vacation. At her final follow up appointment, Heather’s doctor was so surprised by the massive change to her liver that he called in his nurse practitioner to see her, too. The doctor said he hadn’t seen results like that in five years.

When Heather found out about her stage IV colon cancer she was told that her colon wouldn’t kill her, but her liver probably would. Today, Heather believes that without SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres, her life would be dramatically different. Now, Heather shares her inspiring story with others in the hopes that they, too, can benefit from SIRT and have a greater chance of living a longer, healthier, and more productive life.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Are You at Risk for Peripheral Artery Disease? Is It Preventable?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a disease in which plaque, the accumulation of fat and cholesterol, builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. This build of plaque is a condition called atherosclerosis. Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body. If the plaque build-up is not addressed, you could potentially lose a limb.

The known risk factors for peripheral artery disease are those that predispose to the development of atherosclerosis. Risk factors for peripheral artery disease include:

  • High blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol–the main source of cholesterol buildup and        blockage in the arteries
  • High Triglycerides–another form of fat in your blood that can raise your risk for heart disease
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Types 1 and 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) or a family history of hypertension
  • A family history of atherosclerotic disease
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Physical inactivity
By taking action to control your risk factors such as being physically active, following a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and quit smoking, you can help prevent or delay PAD and its complications.
Lifestyle changes can also help prevent and control conditions associated with PAD, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and stroke. Although PAD can be serious, it's treatable. If you have been diagnosed with PAD, there are medications and minimally invasive, endovascular procedures such as atherectomy that can break up the plague in your arteries and re-establish normal blood flow through your legs. PAD treatment often slows or stops the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of complications.

PAD affects over 10 million Americans, it is slightly more common in men than women and affects 12-20 percent of people 65 and older. By understanding your risks, changing your lifestyle to a healthier one and quit smoking if you smoke, you can hopefully lower and prevent your chances of developing PAD.