Posted on: May 11, 2017
Groundbreaking liver cancer treatment improves patient outcomes and increases survival rates.
Nearly 40,000 adults are diagnosed with primary liver cancer each year in the United States. Up until recently, very few effective treatments for liver cancer were available, resulting in exceptionally low survival rates when compared to other types of cancer. Read on to learn what is liver cancer and its associated risk factors, and learn how embolization therapy for liver cancer treatment works–the new, groundbreaking procedure that improves patient outcomes and increases survival rates.
What Is Liver Cancer?
Also called hepatic cancer, liver cancer impacts cells inside your liver, causing abnormal cellular changes that can lead to the growth of malignant (cancerous) tumors. Because your liver works to clean your blood of harmful toxins, make enzymes, and proteins for blood clotting, when your liver becomes cancerous, the liver cancer can spread rapidly to other parts of your body.
Liver Cancer Risk Factors
Researchers have identified a number of known risk factors that can increase the risk having either primary, or secondary liver cancer including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cirrhosis (hardening) of the liver caused by alcohol abuse and/or an excess of iron in the liver
- Hepatitis B and/or Hepatitis C
- Environmental factors, including long-term exposure to certain chemicals or types of food-borne mold
Liver cancer occurs more often in men than women (3:1), and having multiple risk factors significantly increases the chances of developing this disease.
Your liver is an essential organ – that’s why surgeons can’t completely remove a cancerous liver. Treatments like partial liver removal, transplantation, radiation, and chemotherapy may be available, however, liver cancer patients often have other health issues that limit therapeutic options.
How Embolization Therapy for Liver Cancer Works
Our team of highly specialized Interventional Radiologists has been using embolization to treat a variety of cancers since 2004, including embolization therapy for the treatment of liver cancer.
Embolization is a non-surgical procedure designed to slow down, or even stop, the growth of cancer cells. It can be used to treat tumors that are inoperable, including larger tumors in patients who have either primary or metastatic liver cancer.
Using a range of advanced diagnostic imaging tools such as X-Rays, ultrasound, MRI, fluoroscopy and CT scans, NWH’s Interventional Radiologists guide a tiny, flexible tube (catheter) through a small incision in the patient’s upper thigh, through the hepatic artery into the liver.
Once the catheter is in place, we block off the blood supply to the cancerous tumor using specially-formulated medical compounds. This leaves the remaining healthy liver cells unharmed while helping to slow, or even stop, the growth of the cancerous cells inside the liver.
Because embolization is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure, general anesthesia is not needed, and most patients recover very quickly.
If you’d like more information about our life-changing embolization therapy for liver cancer treatment at Northern Westchester Hospital, give our Interventional Radiology department a call at 914.242.8154. We’re here for you.