Digital Original: Stage 4 cancer patient gets more time thanks to tailored treatment

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Cancer. It’s an often fatal disease that can leave people feeling hopeless.

At any level, it can be horrible news, but at Stage 4 the disease virtually consumes people from the inside out.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” says Luann Callaway, a Stage 4 colon cancer patient at CARTI Cancer Center in Little Rock.

Callaway was diagnosed back in May 2018 with colon cancer. It quickly spread to her liver, dramatically reducing the number of months she had to live.

She admits at one point she felt hopeless, but after hearing that CARTI had interventional radiologists performing a Y-90 (intra-arterial yttrium-90 radioembolization) procedure that could potentially help extend her life while adding quality, she didn’t hesitate.

“I felt after hearing the benefits that they far outweighed the risks,” explains Callaway.

Since early 2000, CARTI has been the first in the country to offer such treatment. The Y-90 is a palliative procedure (which means it can only relieve the pain). It is not a cure or treatment, but patients benefit by having their lives extended and experiencing fewer side effects like feeling fatigue that can last up to 10 days after standard cancer therapy.

“Just because you are diagnosed with cancer even at a level of Stage 4 colon – that you can live and you can enjoy life and there is joy and don’t give up,” Calloway adds.

The Y-90 is a minimally invasive procedure that combines embolization and radiation therapy to the liver cancer but also can pinpoint the exact area where cancer has spread – putting treatment in an isolated area.

Each patient must receive tailored treatment that best maximizes the most effective plan.

CARTI hopes to treat at least 100 patients in a year.

“Hope you never have to walk through the doors of CARTI. They are not the reasons that you do when you’re diagnosed with cancer but they might be the reason that you walk out,” says Calloway.

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