Liver Cancer Ablation Therapy
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Ablation Therapy for Liver Cancer
If you are not a candidate for surgery, your care team will discuss your options for ablative techniques at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA).
Ablation therapy is provided to patients who are not candidates for surgery because of reduced liver function or other health issues. This collection of techniques is used to destroy the tumor without removing it. They are appropriate for patients who have few, small tumors and may be combined with embolization in some patients.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency hyperthermic tumor ablation (RFA) is used to treat liver cancer, as well as tumors that have spread to the liver from another part of the body, such as the breast, colon or lung. This procedure uses high-frequency electric current to heat and destroy the cancer cells.
During the procedure, a surgeon inserts a thin, needle-like probe through the skin and into the tumor, guiding it into place with ultrasound or CT scans. Electrical energy is then passed through the tip of the probe, which heats and "melts away" cancerous liver tumors. Radiofrequency ablation therapy carries the lowest risk compared to other cancer cell ablation techniques.
Radiofrequency ablation therapy has become a major treatment method for small tumors. This technique may offer faster, more targeted liver cancer treatment with fewer side effects and shorter hospital stays compared with standard therapies.
Cryoablation uses extreme cold to destroy cancer cells. Guided by ultrasound imaging, your CTCA doctor will place the cryoprobe (metal probe) containing liquid nitrogen directly onto liver tumors. The cryoprobe destroys the tumor by freezing it. Cryoblation may be used to treat larger tumors than the other ablation techniques, and it sometimes requires general anesthesia.
Percutaneous alcohol ablation
Also known as percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI), this procedure uses concentrated alcohol to kill cancer cells. Similar to the other ablation techniques, pure alcohol is directly injected into the tumor through the skin using a needle guided by ultrasound or CT scans, or during an open surgical procedure.
Side effects after percutaneous alcohol ablation therapy are uncommon, but may include: abdominal pain, liver infection, and bleeding into the chest cavity or abdomen.
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