On most weekends Ethel Blackwell can be found camping, hiking or racing dirt bikes with her six grandchildren on the outskirts of Spokane. But in 2009, at the age of 66, a routine check-up led to additional tests that uncovered cancer in her liver. Having only spent time in the hospital when she gave birth to her daughter in 1970, the diagnosis of hepatocellular cancer came as a complete shock. Determined to find the best treatment available, Ethel visited several doctors before being referred to interventional radiologist, Dr. Jayson Brower.
When cancer is found in the liver, most patients are given little hope and limited treatment options. However Dr. Brower recommended an innovative treatment called radioembolization using Yttrium-90 that directly targets liver tumors, sparing healthy liver tissue. After two radioembolization treatments and a round of radiation, her tumor shrunk significantly. Ethel is living with cancer but has been able to attend two grandchildren’s high school graduations, seen her two youngest grandchildren ride their dirt bikes solo for the first time and made countless other memories with her family. A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Ethel decided she wouldn’t let cancer slow her down and she continues to live life to the fullest and share her story with others to help raise awareness for patients facing the same journey