Radioembolization

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A New Option for Liver Cancer Patients in the Valley

By: Lauri Revilla

Dr. Ravi Mydur came to the Rio Grande Valley with one mission in mind – to bring options to cancer patients that have been given none. As an interventional radiologist who specializes in radioembolization, Dr. Mydur hopes to prolong the lives of patients facing an inoperable liver cancer diagnosis.

After working in different medical centers around the United States and completing his fellowship in Interventional Radiology at Case Western Reserve Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Ravi Mydur returned to Texas to serve as an interventional radiologist in Dallas, Texas and Edinburg Regional Medical Center in Edinburg, Texas. He has performed multiple interventional procedures ranging from angioplasties, uterine fibroid embolizations, biopsies, drainage procedures, thermal ablations and chemoembolization. The ability to help terminally ill patients by treating pathology in real-time led him to specialize in interventional oncology and radioembolization.

Although radioembolization has been around for the past few decades, it has been gaining momentum in the recent years as clinical trials continue demonstrating its effectiveness in treating liver cancer. “There’s a lot of good results from radioembolization,” explains Dr. Mydur. “A lot of patients who have no other options and are given a window of 6-10 months to live end up living an additional 2-3 years after that. The therapy has shown to be very.”

Radioembolization consists of selectively delivering radiation-filled microspheres, or glass beads, to the area where the tumor, or multiple tumors, are located. These microspheres are filled with the radioactive isotope yttrium Y-90, and are sent directly to the tumor site. A qualified interventional radiologist uses x-ray imaging and contrast material to visualize blood vessels and determine which one supplies the tumor site. A catheter containing the microspheres is then inserted in that artery through the groin area.

The radioembolization procedure is considered a palliative treatment, meaning that it does not provide a cure, but can help slow the progression of the disease and alleviate symptoms. Because the radiation agents are delivered directly to the liver, there are less side effects and complications than with traditional chemotherapy. Patients are usually discharged a few hours after the procedure is done and can resume their regular activities within 3-5 days.

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Dr. Ravi Mydur works closely together with a team of oncologists and health care professionals to determine how radioembolization can be used for each patient’s specific situation. In some cases, this procedure can help inoperable tumors become operable. “I use radioembolization to facilitate treatment for the removal of a tumor for patients that have a tumor that is too large for surgery,” explains Mydur. “If I can reduce it in size, there is a possibility that it can be taken out.” He was able to experience this first-hand with a patient that presented with a very large inoperable tumor. After undergoing the radioembolization procedure, the patient was able to have full resection of the tumor.

Dr. Mydur’s strong commitment to interventional oncology and to his patients led him to establish the first-ever Yttrium-90 radioembolization program at Edinburgh Regional Medical Center. He takes pride in bringing new possibilities for Rio Grande Valley residents and hopes that those facing a terminal diagnosis understand that there is still hope. “If they have no other options, I am still a viable option to help them prolong their life,” says Mydur. “If they’re given a few months to live, they still have options.”