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The liver is the largest organ in the body and it plays a vital role in the functioning of the body. It helps the body in absorbing and storing the nutrients and also supports in removal of waste material. Liver cancer is commonly seen all over the world except in United States where it is a rare occurrence. Liver cancer generally starts from some other affected body parts and gradually moves on to the liver. Hence, this type of cancer is termed as metastatic cancer. Below are mentioned few treatment options.
A common cancer treatment using X-rays to slow down the cancer cell growth in the liver and destroying them is known as radiation. Radiation is mostly given to the patient by a machine beaming radiation into the patient’s body. Alternatively, certain substances may be placed inside the body that produces radiation. Sometimes radioactive substances are attached to antibodies and injected inside the patient’s body.
In cases where the cancerous tumor present in the liver is small, the surgeon operates and removes only that portion. Few people may also undergo liver transplant where the infected and malignant liver is interchanged with a donor liver that is healthy.
Another oft used treatment that is also well known is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is given to the patient intravenously or through drugs. Regional chemotherapy is the one used in treating liver cancer. A pump containing chemotherapy drugs is implanted into the patient’s body. This pump passes these drugs inside blood vessels. Alternatively, these drugs can be directly introduced into the liver.
The process of cryoablation freezes the cancerous cells present in the liver. In this process liquid nitrogen is supplied to the malignant tumor directly. Sometimes, this is the only treatment few patients respond to. Cryoablation is a treatment that can be used for other kinds of liver cancers also.
Radiofrequency ablation, on the other hand, uses immense heat to kill the malignancy. This is done by inserting thin needles inside the abdomen and guiding them to the tumor. The surgeon then uses electric current to generate heat and kill the malignant cells.
Alcohol injections can also be used to treat liver cancers. In this method alcohol is directly injected to the tumor. The alcohol dries up the tumor cells destroying them. Immunotherapy is another method used to treat liver cancers. In this method healthy substances are introduced into the patient’s immune system that aid in fighting diseases. Sorafenib is a drug used by cancer specialists to keep the malignant tumors from building new blood vessels that will grow and gradually spread.
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eHow: Treatment for Cancer of the Liver