What You Really Need to Know about Cancer

Friday, December 26, 2014

How liver cancer is treated? Latest treatment options

liver cancer treatment
In this article we will focus on how liver cancer is treated and the treatment options available in the current
advanced health care facilities.

In a very rare cases liver cancer can be treated by surgical removal but often it spreads to other parts of the liver making it impossible for a surgeon to remove the tumors.

Liver cancer originates from liver cells or hepatocellular cells. It’s also known as hepatocellular cancer or Hepatoma. It usually develops after long standing damages to liver as a results of previous infection with hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, or due to prolonged use of excessive alcohol.

If the tumor can be removed surgically, patient has high chance of getting rid of cancer and the doctors’ main objective will be to cure the patient with prophylactic treatments.


Basically, removing liver cancer cells or hepatocellular tumor means removing the entire lobe of the liver where the tumor is situated.  In order to undergo this major surgery, patient should be physically fit and patient’s liver should have capacity to perform all its normal function with the remaining tissues or part of the liver. But, in some conditions like cirrhosis of the liver, this may not be possible. Before deciding to undergo surgery, discuss with your surgeon about the possible after effects, risks and chances of cure.


After removal of the tumor, doctors may give a few dose of chemotherapy in order to eliminate any leftover cancer cells in the liver. But, in generally speaking, liver cancer cells are not sensitive to chemotherapy. However, chemotherapy drug combinations are being investigated and some researches have shown positive outcomes.


Usually radiotherapy is given to control the further growth of liver tumor and to suppress or shrink the growth of tumor, if surgery is not possible. But radiotherapy itself is potentially harmful to body and patient usually experiences severe side effects. Before deciding to take radiotherapy, discuss with your radio oncologist about the possible side effects,adverse effects, and outcomes.

Tumor Ablation

Tumor ablation is a method used to destroy the liver tumor. This method is preferred when the patient’s condition is not favorable for surgery and patient should have not more than few small tumors for this procedure. The types of ablations are:
  • Radiofrequency Ablations
  • Ethanol Ablation
  • Microwave thermotherapy
  • Cryosurgery
Same as chemotherapy and radiotherapy tumor ablation also have side effects including, abdominal pain, headache, infection in the liver, bleeding in the abdominal cavity.

Embolization therapy

Embolization is the procedure performed to cut off or reduce the blood supply to the tumor. This procedure if perfumed for patient whose liver tumor is unable to remove by surgery due to its massive size. This procedure leaves most of the health cells unharmed and never interface with its normal functions. There are three types of embolization.
  • Arterial Embolization
  • Chemoembolization
  • Radioembolization

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is different from chemotherapy. It is targeted to inhibit the growth of the tumor cells. Since chemotherapy is not effective for liver cancer, doctors have been preferring targeted therapy for most of the cases. The drug of choice for liver cancer is Sorafenib, which block the tumor forming new bloods vessels, and interrupts some protein signaling mechanism in cancer cells which they need to form new blood vessels and for growth.


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