Chemoembolization

Chemoembolization can be extremely effective in treating primary liver cancers as well as some types of metastatic tumors. You may have this treatment if you can’t have surgery and you have poor liver function with advanced liver cancer. This procedure is usually used to reduce the tumor for better pain control. It may also be used to shrink the tumor before you have surgery.

For this procedure, the doctor uses X-rays to guide a small tube called a catheter into an artery in your groin and to the artery that supplies blood to the tumor. Then, the doctor injects chemotherapy drugs into the tube mixed with particles that are coated with chemotherapeutic agents or oil mixed with chemotherapeutic agents. Then, the particles block the blood flow (known as embolizing) to the tumor. This allows for a higher dose of chemotherapy drug to be used, because less of the drug is able to circulate to the healthy cells in the body. Chemoembolization usually involves a hospital stay of two to four days.

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