what is chemoembolization?
Chemoembolization targets liver cancer — more specifically, cancer that originated in the liver or spread to there from other areas in the body.
How does IT work?
Chemoembolization may be a big word. But it’s a simple two-step process.
First, chemotherapy drugs are injected into the specific artery that flows blood to your liver tumor.
Secondly, interventional radiologists then embolize (fancy medical term for block off) the artery — stopping the liver from feeding on anything other than chemotherapy drugs.
IS IT BETTER THAN STANDARD CHEMOTHERAPY?
The advantages of chemoembolization as opposed to standard chemotherapy include:
- Superior dosages — 20 to 200 times greater than standard chemotherapy — due to direct injection at the site of the tumor
- Increased value and effectiveness — drugs stay and work in your system longer, lasting up to a month
- Less side effects — drugs stay confined inside the liver and away from other parts of your body
IS THIS PROCEDURE RIGHT FOR YOU?
Once again, it’s important to note that chemoembolization is only effective in treating tumors in your liver. This treatment is not recommended for cancers other than liver cancer.
Chemoembolization is right for you if you have these types of liver cancers:
- Hepatoma also known as hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer)
- Metastasis (tumor spread from another area) to the liver from:
- A primary tumor in another part of the body
- Carcinoid tumors
- Sarcomas (cancers found in bone and connective tissues)
- Ocular melanoma
- Colon cancer
Before your chemoembolization procedure, our radiologist may administer several tests, including CT scans, MRIs, and liver function blood tests. The test results will determine if you have any of these conditions:
- Liver cirrhosis
- Bile duct obstructions
- Portal vein thrombosis
If you’re clear of these issues, you’ll be able to begin the chemoembolization procedure.
THE side effects OF CHEMOEMBOLIZATION
The common side effects of chemoembolization include fever, nausea, and pain. These complications can last from a few hours to a few days, but are quickly relieved by medication. You may also experience slight, if unnoticeable, hair loss.
THE END RESULT
There is no cure for liver cancer. Chemoembolization is simply an effective method of treating and lessening the tumor in your liver. Approximately 70% of the patients will see improvement in the liver and depending on the type of liver cancer, it may improve your survival. For additional information or to schedule a chemoembolization procedure, please contact our clinical coordinator at 505-559-5653.