Liver Cancer Chemotherapy
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Chemotherapy for Liver Cancer
Chemotherapy (chemo) is the treatment of cancer with drugs that destroy cancer cells. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), liver cancer chemotherapy treatments may be administered alone or along with radiation therapy or surgery.
Many of our patients have received prior chemotherapy for liver cancer. We constantly think of innovative and different treatment approaches. One creative way that we’re treating liver cancer is with intra-arterial chemotherapy and chemoembolization, two methods of delivering treatment directly to the tumor.
Liver cancer chemotherapy treatments are used in three primary ways:
- Neo-adjuvant or primary systemic chemotherapy may be used before surgery to destroy cancer cells. It also allows your oncologist to determine the effectiveness of a particular liver cancer treatment regimen on the tumor.
- Adjuvant chemotherapy is used after surgery or radiation to target cancer cells that were not removed during liver cancer surgery, and helps prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of your body.
- Systemic chemotherapy, meaning the circulation of chemotherapy drugs through the bloodstream to cancer cells through the body, plays an important role in the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic liver cancer.
Throughout your chemotherapy for liver cancer, your CTCA care team continually monitors the effectiveness of treatment on the disease with physical exams, blood tests, CT scans, MRI scans and chest X-rays.
The Infusion Center at CTCA
As a liver cancer patient at CTCA, we try to make you as comfortable as possible while you are receiving liver cancer chemotherapy treatment in the hospital's Infusion Center:
- When you arrive for your first chemotherapy treatment, a nurse will show you around and give you a brief tour of the infusion center.
- Each time you come for an appointment, you choose a seat wherever you would like.
- Semi-private chairs with your own television are always available.
- Rooms are available if you seek more privacy or need to rest during treatment.
- A patient care technician will offer you a heated blanket and get you comfortable, as well as take your order for lunch or dinner. You can order a meal for a companion, too.
In addition, you can choose what you want to do while receiving chemo for liver cancer. You may decide to talk with family or friends, sit in front of the window, read a book, or nap in a private lounge chair.
You can also schedule appointments with acupuncturists and naturopathic clinicians during your time in the infusion center. Our practitioners provide supportive therapies to help you relax before or during chemotherapy treatment and to minimize the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting.
Addressing Side Effects of Liver Cancer Chemotherapy
To help you manage side effects, your care team may deliver chemotherapy in smaller amounts over a period of a few days. The smaller doses can be more manageable and may help reduce your chemotherapy side effects, such as nausea and fatigue.
Your CTCA care team will also work together with other clinicians, including the naturopathic medicine, pain management, mind-body medicine, and nutrition teams, to help prevent and ease any side effects you experience.
Next Topic: Intra-Arterial Chemotherapy for Liver Cancer