There are various treatments for liver cancer, and the choice of treatment often depends on the stage of liver cancer and how healthy your liver is. Treatment options include surgery, liver transplant, ablation therapy, chemoembolisation, radioembolisation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. It is important to have a discussion with your doctor on the treatment options.
Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE) is a minimally invasive procedure in which chemotherapy and embolic agents are directly delivered to a cancerous tumour via its blood supply. The embolic agents are used to cut off the blood supply to the tumour without affecting the rest of the liver. Compared to receiving conventional chemotherapy, TACE allows for the maximum amount of chemotherapy agent to reach the tumour, while limiting the amount released into the bloodstream.
The procedure will be performed by a trained interventional radiologist and the team, under the guidance of X-ray and ultrasound imaging, in an interventional radiology suite. Devices will be attached to you to measure your heart rate and blood pressure. You will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area of needle puncture (groin or wrist) and catheter placement, so that you may only feel some discomfort during the procedure. Occasionally, sedatives may be given. A contrast agent will be given through your intravenous cannula to map out the blood vessels at the tumour so that chemotherapy and embolic agents can be administered directly. A temporary sensation of warmth may be felt when the contrast agent is administered. The procedure usually takes less than 2 hours.
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