Medical Terminology In This Article:

Selective: very specific.
Internal: Within.

What is SIRT?

SIRT is radiation treatment for cancer. In this procedure, a radiation source called yttrium-90 is administered in tiny beads delivered through the bloodstream into the tissue affected by cancer.
How does the procedure work?
First, the interventional radiologist will map out the organ’s blood vessels and block some of them to ensure the beads only go to the tumor. Once this is done, a catheter (small tube) is placed inside a blood vessel that goes directly to the organ affected by cancer. The interventional radiologist will guide the catheter close to the tumor and then administer the specially prepared beads containing the radiation. When the beads land in cancer, they emit radiation energy that kills the cancer cells over a short distance around the bead.

Why perform it?

The procedure aims to cure or slow the growth of cancer. It may be performed alone or in combination with conventional (medical) therapies. It is typically used to treat cancers located in an organ, most commonly the liver. It is a local therapy, meaning it only treats cancer cells near where it is administered. Usually, it is used for tumors in solid organs that cannot be treated by other means alone, though it may be used together with conventional surgery and chemotherapy.

What are the risks?

There is a risk that the blood vessel will be injured or bruised while the tube is being placed. If the beads travel to normal tissues, these tissues will be killed. When the tumor is destroyed, you may experience pain, fever, and nausea. In unusual cases, the treated area can become infected, which may require medication or another intervention.