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TheraSphere™ is a proven therapy approved by the FDA that safely delivers high dose radiation to shrink liver cancer* tumors and improve patient outcomes. 

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Treating liver cancer with TheraSphere

The most common type of liver cancer in adults is primary liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Primary liver cancer starts in the liver while secondary liver cancer starts elsewhere in the body and spreads to the liver. There is a proven, precise and personalized therapy to treat HCC called TheraSphere™ Y-90 Glass Microspheres. Learn more about TheraSphere and HCC, including risk factors, symptoms, and what to expect from treatment.¹

What causes liver cancer

The most common primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC. Cirrhosis is a major risk factor for HCC. This chronic liver disease is marked by liver tissue scarred by repeated damage and repair. 

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Potential causes of cirrhosis and HCC include: 

  • Chronic hepatitis B or C infection 
  • Prolonged alcohol abuse 
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD, typically the result of obesity)
  • Aflatoxins (found in mold on crops in some parts of the world)
  • Hereditary conditions such as haemochromatosis (the body absorbs too much iron from food and the build-up damages the liver)
  • Steroid abuse 


HCC develops when normal liver cells (hepatocytes) build up genetic mistakes (mutations) as they multiply in overdrive to repair chronic damage to the liver.

Knowing the symptoms

The early stages of HCC may show no symptoms in some people which is why it’s important to stay current on your annual check-ups, especially if you fall into a high-risk category. Symptoms of HCC may include:

  • Losing weight without trying

  • Loss of appetite

  • Upper abdominal pain

  • Nausea and vomiting 

  • General weakness and fatigue

  • Abdominal swelling

  • Yellow discoloration of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)

  • White, chalky stools2 

Reaching a diagnosis

Your doctor may order the following tests or procedures to reach a diagnosis of liver cancer3

  • Blood tests

  • Imaging exams, such as, ultrasounds, CT and MRI

  • Liver biopsy, a procedure that removes a small sample of the organ’s tissue for testing3 

What to expect from TheraSphere

There are various options and combinations of options for treating HCC ranging from surgery to targeted drug therapy. Treatment options and prognosis may vary based on the stage of your cancer and overall health. If your doctor chooses TheraSphere to treat your HCC, here’s what to expect. 

TheraSphere is made up of millions of tiny glass beads—each thinner than a strand of hair, containing radioactive Yttrium-90 to target your HCC liver tumor. During the procedure, your Interventional Radiologist will make a tiny incision in your upper leg, administering TheraSphere to the liver tumor through a microcatheter. TheraSphere targets the tumor with minimal impact to the surrounding healthy liver. Treatment is typically a single, outpatient procedure that does not require a stay in the hospital. It is often well-tolerated and most patients report minimal side effects. Having the TheraSphere treatment does not preclude you from other treatment options.4

How it works

Understand how TheraSphere targets HCC liver cancer. 

Hear from people like you

Watch Nicole’s story of treating her HCC with TheraSphere.

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More to know

Download our patient brochure and read more about TheraSphere.

Find a treatment center near you that is administering TheraSphere

More support


Already had the TheraSphere procedure?

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*Hepatocellular Carcinoma (ref: LEGACY study. Hepatology. 2021)


1. LEGACY study. Hepatology. 2021  


3. Accessed 29 March 2019.