Liver Cancer Therapy
Liver cancer therapy seeks to destroy liver cancer. It uses a multi tier multi treatment approach intended to destroy any tumor formations. Liver cancer therapy is also effective to fight recurrence of liver cancer. Liver cancer therapy also works to offer an effective means against side effects of such treatments and to bring back the patient to a normal and healthy lifestyle.
Liver cancer therapy makes a huge difference in improving the prognosis of the patient. There are some cases where stage 3 or stage 4 liver cancer patients were given the boon of life, thanks to liver cancer treatments and therapies. Liver cancer therapies include RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation), chemotherapy, surgery and liver transplants and radiotherapy.
Radio Frequency Ablation: RFA uses radio frequencies to heat and destroy cancer just like a microwave oven. RFA is extremely useful to treat localized tumors especially those of size less than 8 cm. A radio frequency probe is inserted laparoscopically or endoscopically near the tumor site. A high intensity alternating current passes through the probe generating localized heat. This kills cancer cells near the probe. A combination of radio frequency ablation and chemotherapy as well as surgery to remove tumors is sure to destroy most cancer cells. Diagnostic machines like ultrasound and live images through a camera provide instant results of RFA.
Ethanol or alcohol injection therapy: Ethanol or alcoholic solutions have toxic effect on some tumors. Percutaneous Alcohol Injection Therapy or PEI was found to be useful in some types of liver cancer such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The softer tissues of the liver are easier to treat with this therapy especially where there is very less metastasis or cirrhosis. This therapy is not useful in all types of liver cancer and must be done only after an expert's opinion.
Chemoembolization (TACE): Chemoembolization or TACE or transarterial chemoembolization is actually a kind of chemotherapy. Here chemotherapeutic drugs are directly administered into the blood vessels such as arteries supplying the liver. Special agents like lipiodol are then injected into the arteries which block the arteries for a short period. This seals the blood supply to the tumor and increases drug concentration near the tumor. The tumor cells are destroyed due to higher concentration of the drugs. The benefit of this therapy is that it can avoid damage to other tissues by the localizing action. It reduces the size of large tumor. It makes surgery easier. It is useful to treat HCC.
Hepatic Arterial Infusion: Hepatic arterial infusion is a variant of chemotherapy. Drugs are administered to hepatic arteries leading to the tumor. A catheter is used to deliver the chemotherapy drug. The catheter is directed through the groin, aorta and then to the hepatic artery. The drug is then released near the tumor where it kills the cancerous cells. The catheter is removed and the patient is kept under observation.
Some common chemotherapy drugs are cyclophosphamide, capecitabine, leucovorin, 5-fluorouracil, sorafenib, gemcitabine, doxorubicin, vincristine Iodine-131-lipiodol and ethanol
Resection: This is a surgical operation. Some part of the liver may be affected more while the rest may be healthy. Resection involves removal of the affected part using surgical tools. This is a risky procedure but useful if the cancer doesn't spread. It can reduce liver functionality.
Liver Transplant: Doctors decide to remove the liver, if the liver is completely damaged by cancer and is not responding to other treatments. Obviously the patient must be given a new liver as the liver is one of the most crucial organs of the body. Therefore a healthy liver from a donor is obtained and transplanted surgically in place of the damaged liver. The donor may be a living person or the liver may come from dead person who donates his body. This is a costly and complex operation. The risk with this operation is that the new liver may be rejected by the body.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation alters and destroys the DNA of cancer causing cells. Radiation is given externally or internally. Some other therapies that are being evaluated for liver cancer are retroviral and gene therapy, photodynamic therapy and cryoablation. Ayurveda, physiotherapy, green tea therapy, yoga, Acupuncture all help in managing the disease pre and post treatment. They are especially useful in improving strength, digestion and overall health of the liver cancer patient.
Liver cancer therapy thus helps in winning the war against liver cancer. Do go in for early treatment to win this fight.