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Treatment / Chemoembolization

Chemoembolization / Drug Eluting Beads

During chemoembolization, anti-cancer drugs are injected directly into the blood vessel feeding a cancerous tumor. In order to ensure the chemotherapy agent stays within the tumor, a synthetic material called an embolic agent is also placed inside the blood vessel supplying the tumor.

Am I a Candidate for Chemoembolization?

Your interventional radiologist will talk to you about your medical history and may recommend that you have several tests, including liver function blood tests, and a CAT scan or an MRI of your liver prior to the chemoembolization procedure.

These tests are used to rule out the following:

  • Blockage of the portal vein
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Blockage of the bile ducts

This method of delivering large doses of chemotherapy directly to the liver tumor has shown some good results in patients who are not candidates for standard therapy.

What Types of Tumors can be Treated?

Chemoembolization only treats tumors in the liver and has little to no effect on any other cancer in the body. The following are liver cancers that can be treated:

  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (primary liver cancer)
  • Metastatic to the liver from these primary cancers
    • Colon cancer
    • Carcinoid
    • Ocular melanoma
    • Sarcomas
    • Primary tumor in another part of the body

What to Expect from the Procedure

Chemoembolization is performed by placing a small catheter from the blood vessel in your groin or wrist into the artery that supplies blood to the liver. Chemotherapeutic drugs are then delivered through the catheter along with a blood vessel occluding agent directly to the site of the tumor. This technique allows the interventional radiologist to deliver a dose 10 times higher than traditional chemotherapy.

After treatment, patients can see their tumor(s) dramatically decrease in size.

Whether or not you are a candidate for chemoembolization will depend on your diagnosis and consultation with your oncologist and your interventional radiologist. Call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also read our brochure on Interventional Oncology.

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