Liver Cancer Chemoembolization
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Chemoembolization is another innovative liver cancer treatment option available at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). Chemoembolization offers a way to deliver chemotherapy directly to the liver tumor, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissues.
Embolization is a treatment method that reduces the flow of blood to the tumor. Blocking the blood flow does not allow the tumor to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow. Unlike other organs, the liver has two blood supplies – the portal vein that feeds most normal liver cells, and the hepatic artery that feeds the cancer cells in the liver. This unique feature of the liver allows your doctor to destroy the cancer cells while sparing the healthy tissue.
Based on the stage, size and location of the tumor, your care team at CTCA will work together with you to determine if embolization is the right liver cancer treatment for you.
Chemoembolization for Liver Cancer
Chemoembolization, also known as trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE), combines the technique of embolization with intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC).
Your physician will use X-ray to guide a catheter into your hepatic artery, the primary blood supply to the liver, and then deliver chemotherapy drugs directly through the catheter into the artery. The chemotherapy drugs may either be coated onto the microspheres (small particles), or chemotherapy and the microspheres may be injected separately. In either case, the flow of blood to the tumor is cut and high doses of chemotherapy are targeted directly to the cancer cells.
Embolization Side Effects
Despite the different blood supplies to the tumor and normal cells of the liver, embolization reduces some of the blood supply to the normal liver tissue. This is a serious issue if you have cirrhosis in parts of the liver not affected by cancer.
The general embolization side effects may include abdominal pain, fever, liver infection, gallbladder inflammation, and blood clots in the main blood vessels of the liver.
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