Have you been diagnosed with a liver tumor and you’re looking for options, resources or hope?
Ingalls Memorial Hospital, in conjunction with SIRTex and beatlivertumors.org, will present Advancing Liver Tumor Treatment Through Multidisciplinary Care Friday, Nov. 1, from noon to 2 p.m. at the main hospital campus in Harvey.
Speakers include hematologist/oncologist Mark Kozloff, M.D., medical director of Ingalls Cancer Care, and interventional oncologist Thomas Aquisto, M.D.
Dr. Aquisto will discuss a highly advanced treatment option known as selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) that targets liver tumors directly. Ingalls was among the first cancer programs in Illinois to offer this non-surgical outpatient therapy that uses radioactive Yttrium-90 microspheres to deliver radiation directly to the site of liver tumors.
“SIRT spares healthy tissue while delivering up to 40 times more radiation to liver tumors than would be possible with conventional radiation,” Dr. Aquisto explained.
The technique uses the patient’s blood supply to send the tiny SIRTex spheres, smaller in diameter than a human hair, into the microscopic vessels that feed a cancerous tumor. The spheres eventually become lodged at the tumor sites, where they deliver a high dose of radiation, shrinking the tumors and extending the life expectancy of patients with malignant liver tumors.
“Microspheres therapy has emerged as a novel treatment option when most other treatment options have failed,” Dr. Aquisto explained.
Sharron Santefort of Dolton is one of those success stories. Diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer in 2005, Santefort participated in an Ingalls cancer clinical trial at the urging of her oncologist, Dr. Kozloff.
The treatment shrunk her tumor to a size that was operable. She had surgery and she was in remission for several years. In 2009, doctors found tumors on her liver.
Radiofrequency ablation successfully destroyed a couple of the tumors, but one was located too close to her diaphragm for her ablation. That’s when Dr. Aquisto told her about SIRT.
“The treatment is a wonderful thing,” Santefort said. “I had it done at Ingalls as an outpatient, and there was no illness at all afterwards.”
Four years later, the tumor is stable, and Santefort continues her work as a special education teacher at Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park.
What’s more, the effervescent cancer survivor who initially was given nine to 14 months to live more than eight years ago, was a special guest at the 2013 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. She and nine other women were given the star treatment, complete with hair, makeup, designer gowns and a red-carpet walk, thanks to beatlivertumors.org, founded by cancer survivor Suzanne Lindley.
“It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget,” she added.
Santefort plans to attend the Nov. 1 seminar at Ingalls and will be available to share her story and answer questions about her SIRT treatment.
“I’m so very grateful they were able to offer me this treatment,” she adds. “I’ve had all my cancer care at Ingalls from the very beginning. I can’t say enough about Dr. Kozloff and Dr. Aquisto. What an advantage for patients who live in the south suburbs.”
For more information and to register for Advancing Liver Tumor Treatment Through Multidisciplinary Care, call 877-937-7478 or visit beatlivertumors.org
The program will be held in the East Meeting Room of the main hospital, 156th and Wood streets in Harvey.