Health Headlines: Injectable radiation used to treat neuroendocrine cancer
DENVER, Colo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – NET cancer is short for neuroendocrine tumors. It’s a type of cancer that is slow growing and can happen anywhere in your body. As with most cancers, treatment can start with surgery, chemo, and radiation. But now, doctors are using a very targeted, missile-like therapy to destroy the tiniest of these cancer cells.
Steve Jobs and Aretha Franklin both lost their battle to what most people thought was pancreatic cancer, but the real culprit of their cancer was neuroendocrine tumors.
Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers neuroendocrine cancer specialist, Eric Liu, MD says, “It can come from any part of your body, from your lungs, from your pancreas, from your intestines.”
Symptoms can be varied and go misdiagnosed for years. In fact, 90 percent of neuroendocrine cancers are misdiagnosed.
“Just imagine if you had abdominal pain every six to 12 months,” Dr. Liu says.
But some very common symptoms could be neuroendocrine cancer, that’s what happened to Robert Hammer.
“I started coming up with this very itchy rash under my skin and I have a lot of seasonal allergies in Colorado, so that’s what I maybe thought was happening,” Hammer remembers.
But a scan revealed that Hammer had a tumor the size of an orange on his pancreas. Surgery to remove his pancreas was too risky. After several other therapies, including hormone therapy, Dr. Liu treated Hammer with a new injectable radiation called PRRT.
Dr. Liu explains, “The little hormone-guided missile takes it right to the tumor. The tumor absorbs the radiation. And the neat thing about it is the treatment goes to every single tumor in the body.”
The radiation is given through an IV over several months. Before the radiation, Hammer was given eight to 12 years to live, now that number is 18 to 20 years.
“I count every day as joy,” Hammer exclaims.
Studies show that on average, it takes five years from the onset of symptoms, for patients to get the right diagnosis and begin proper treatment. Using injectable radiation to treat it is just the beginning. Dr. Liu believes the PRRT will be used to treat prostate cancer, as well as other kinds of cancer in the near future.
Contributors to this news report include Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.
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