Treatment of Liver Cancer For Adults
Treatment of liver cancer will do the type of treatment in accordance with the stage of each cancer. There are three main ways that can be done to treat liver cancer:
- Resection (operation): take part of the liver that is affected by cancer.
- Liver transplant: surgery to replace the organ with a new liver.
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): uses heat to kill cancerous cells.
Patients can be totally cured if at the time of diagnosis of cancer, the cancer he suffered was in stage A. But total healing can not be done if cancer is detected at stage B or C. While in stage D, treatment will only focus on relieving pain and discomfort.
Removal of liver cancer by surgery (surgery)
Resection surgery is performed by removing cancerous cells by surgery. It generally takes 3-4 months to restore your organs after surgery. However you have been allowed to leave the hospital within 6-12 days of surgery.
But like all medical procedures, resection surgery also has risks. In some patients, liver resection surgery leads to complications such as infection, bleeding, and deep vein thrombosis. It is estimated that of 30 people who undergo liver resection surgery, there are 1 person who died after or during surgery. This is because liver resection can sometimes lead to lethal complications such as heart attacks.
Transplant with a liver donor
Transplants can be performed using organs from deceased persons and living donors. Each way has advantages and disadvantages.
The transplant of the deceased will face the following conditions:
- It can take a while to wait for a suitable donor.
- The result is better than that of living donors.
While transplants from living donors will be encountered under the following conditions:
- No need to wait too long.
- Higher complication level of procedure.
- The results tend not to be as good as if using the heart of someone who has died.
In addition, liver transplantation is only appropriate for certain cases. This procedure is usually suitable if the tumor is less than 5 cm in diameter. But it will not be useful if you have multiple tumors or a tumor that is more than 5 cm in diameter. Liver transplantation may be recommended for people with three or more tumors less than 3 cm in diameter. This procedure is also recommended for people with tumors that are highly unresponsive to treatment until they show no signs of tumor progression until six months later.
Killing Cancer Cells with Radio Frequency
RFA or Radiofrequency Ablation kills the cancer cells and shrinks the size of the tumor by heating processes that use electricity.
Ablation / removal by radio frequency can be recommended as an alternative step other than surgery to handle cases with one or more tumors less than 5 cm in diameter.
After undergoing the procedure, you may feel uncomfortable and experience flu-like symptoms, such as chills or muscle aches for several days. Although rare, complications that may occur are bleeding, infection, minor burns, or damage around the organs.
The recommended type of chemotherapy for treating liver cancer stage B and C is called transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE). This treatment does not heal, but only relieves pain and prolongs life expectancy. However, this procedure is not recommended for treating Stage III liver cancer as it may aggravate the condition.
Chemoembolization can be run when people are waiting for an organ for liver transplantation. This procedure helps prevent the spread of cancer to the liver when the patient awaits the liver graft.Chembolization is lived with a combination of two techniques:
Helps slow down tumor growth by injecting small plastic gels or granules into the blood vessels that drain the tumor
Chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into your liver. This process prevents patients from side effects that are often associated with ‘traditional chemotherapy’ such as hair loss and fatigue.
About a month after undergoing chemoembolization, the body’s response to it will be evaluated by CT scan.
Approximately 30% of patients undergoing chemoembolization experience a side effect known as post-chemoembolization syndrome with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and loss of appetite. These side effects can disappear 1-2 weeks later.
In addition, there are also some more rare chemoembolization complications:
- Inflammation of the liver.
- Deterioration of liver function. Usually temporary.
- Abdominal swelling due to fluid accumulation.
- Damage to the channel or gallbladder.
Choice of alcohol injections
Alcohol injections aim to make cancer cells dehydrated and stop blood flow to the tumor. This treatment can only be done if you have only a few small tumors.
Sorafenib is a tablet used to treat liver cancer in certain cases. Not all cases of liver cancer can be treated with sorafenib. In the case of advanced liver cancer, the use of sorafenib may not be recommended because of its limited benefits. The medical team will check whether these drugs are likely to incur any benefit or disadvantage, and whether or not they are used to you.
Freezing Cancer Cells (Cryoablation)
The process of cell destruction can also be done by using a tube containing liquid nitrogen which will freeze the cancer tissue first before it is destroyed. This procedure is performed with the help of images produced by ultrasound as a guide when monitoring and destroying cancer cells. The tool used for this treatment procedure is cryoprobe.