In most cases, transplant is used for tumors that cannot be totally removed, either because of the location of the tumors or because the liver is too diseased for the patient to withstand removing part of it.
Chemotherapy is a medication that is usually given intravenously or as a pill. It goes to the bloodstream and throughout the body to kill cancer cells. This is one of the big advantages of chemotherapy. If cancer cells have broken off from the tumor and are somewhere else inside the body, chemotherapy has the chance of finding those cells and killing them.
Another potential method of treating liver cancer is radiation therapy. The radiation comes in the form of high energy x-rays that are delivered to the patient only in the areas at highest risk for cancer. These x-rays are similar to those used for diagnostic x-rays, only of a much high energy.
The high energy of x-rays in radiation therapy results in damage to the DNA of cells. Because cancer cells are not as good as normal, healthy cell at repairing DNA damage, radiation results in relatively more damage to the cancer cells than to normal cells.
1) Chemoembolization: Chemoembolization is a minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer that can be used when there is too much tumor to treat with radiofrequency ablation (RFA), when the tumor is in a location that cannot be treated with RFA, or in combination with RFA or other treatments. In this the anticancer drug is given along with another substance that blocks the hepatic artery. (artery supplying the liver).
Thus the anticancer drug is gets concentrated in the cancerous portion of the liver. Also since this area does not get fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients due to blocked hepatic artery, the tumor slowly shrinks and dies away.
2) Radiofrequency Ablation: For inoperable liver tumors, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) offers a nonsurgical, localized treatment that kills the tumor cells with heat, while sparing the healthy liver tissue. Thus, this treatment is much easier on the patient than systemic therapy.
3) Cryosurgery: It is a treatment that uses an instrument to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue, such as cancerous cells. This type of treatment is also called Cryotherapy. The doctor may use ultrasound to guide the instrument.
4) Radio-sensitizers: Drugs called radio-sensitizers may be given with the radiation therapy to make the cancer cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.
5) Percutaneous Ethanol Injection:Percutaneous ethanol injection is a cancer treatment in which a small needle is used to inject ethanol (alcohol) directly into a tumor to kill cancer cells. The procedure may be done once or twice a week. Usually local anesthesia is used, but if the patient has many tumors in the liver, general anesthesia may be needed.
6) Hyperthermia Therapy: Hyperthermia therapy is a type of treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high temperatures to damage and kill cancer cells or to make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs. Because some cancer cells are more sensitive to heat than normal cells are, the cancer cells die and the tumor shrinks.
7) Biologic Therapy: Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.
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