Avera Medical Minute: Y-90 treatment for liver cancer

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MARSHALL, MN - A treatment for liver cancer has been developed to target tumors directly, rather than sending medicine through the entire body. This can mean a better quality of life.

Beth Warden

Beth Warden takes us to Marshall Minnesota, to meet a man who says the Y-90 treatment is helping.

"Hi good morning how are you Lynell. Good to see you. have you have a seat over here," Avera Cancer Institute Medical Oncologist and Hematologist Physician Mark Huber said.

Lynell Leasman is enjoying many days in a row of feeling good during his treatment.

This self-proclaimed gear head had a portion of his colon removed after a cancer diagnosis.

"Well, why me, you know...anyway, I thought well deal with it," Lynell Leasman, who received Y-90 treatment, said.

Because the cancer only spread to his liver, a specialized treatment, Y-90 was a part of the treatment plan.
Physician Mark Huber, Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at Avera Cancer Institute describes Y-90.

"...a radiation technique where radioactive beads are injected straight into the blood supply to the liver," Huber said. "It's all done outpatient, you don't have to be in the hospital for any of it."

Y-90 fit within the scope of treatment options.

"So our patient Lynell Leaseman was actually a perfect candidate to have this procedure done because he had a right-sided colon cancer with liver-predominant involvement," Huber said.

The Y-90 procedure means less of a toll on the rest of Lynell's body and fewer symptoms, according to Jess Moriarty, a nurse practitioner, and director of the Avera Cancer Institute in Marshall Minnesota.

"the nausea, vomiting, fatigue...having all of your other systems being affected by the treatment, and really just really hone in on one area, then you don't have to worry about the rest of your body getting the toxins from the treatment," said Moriarty.

Y-90 is often used to treat cancer that has spread to the liver primarily, but not elsewhere. The procedure is minor.

"That's really the only thing I felt from the Y-90 treatment is the two or three little decisions that I had. So, no side effects." said Leasman.

Lynell is from Boyd Minnesota. A 35-minute drive to Avera in Marshall means less travel time for treatment.

"The chemotherapy is all done here in Marshall, surgery was done here in Marshall, all the treatment of follow up is done in Marshall, the only thing that he needed to travel for was for the Y-90, and he was able to do that right in Sioux Falls." said Moriarty.

Lynell says the staff at Avera make him feel comfortable. "All the people I've had to work with at Avera have been very very good people."

And being a former class clown, he's chosen laughter to be a part of his therapy too.

"It just lightens the day up. In school, I was a practical joker and kind of like practical jokes," said Leasman.

With treatment close to home, Lynell has more time and feels better to enjoy his friends, family, and his love of working on engines.

Doctor Huber is based in Sioux Falls and travels to Avera Cancer Institute in Marshall Minnesota once per week.