When you find yourself diagnosed with liver cancer with an inoperable tumor, you may wonder if there is any way to treat your newly diagnosed cancer. While finding out your tumor is inoperable can be distressing, it does not mean that you do not have treatment options available to you. There are numerous treatments that can target liver cancer and tumors without surgery. All you need to do is get to know some of these treatment options so that you can come up with a treatment program with your oncologist as soon as possible.
Irreversible Electroportion (also Known as Nanoknife Cancer Surgery)
Irreversible electroportion, which is often referred to as nanoknife cancer surgery, is an innovative treatment option that can help with liver tumors that are considered to be inoperable. While this treatment is commonly referred to as a nanoknife cancer surgery, it is not a surgery in the traditional sense. Rather than trying to resect or cut out the tumor, this minimally invasive procedure uses an electric current to target tumor cells.
The procedure works by the insertion of small probes through the skin. These probes are directed towards the tumor (or in some cases tumors) on the liver. Once the probes are in place, extremely short bursts of electric current are sent through the probes. The current goes into the cell membranes of the tumor cells, causing irreversible damage that is designed to not only stop tumor growth but also to kill off the cancer cells in the tumor, shrinking it.
This treatment is ideal for inoperable liver tumors because it is a targeted therapy. This means it does damage to the cancer cells while doing little to no damage to surrounding healthy tissues. For liver tumors near blood vessels, nerves, or arteries, this procedure may be one of the only effective options to try to stop the tumor from doing more damage.
Radiation-Therapy Microspheres and Chemotherapy Beads
Liver cancer can be difficult to treat in that wholebody chemotherapy and radiation therapy may not be the most effective ways to get to those liver tumors and cancer cells. However, doctors are nothing if not innovative and they have come up with two similar albeit slightly different treatment options to help remedy that.
Radiation therapy is a common treatment for cancer that uses high-energy wave (i.e. radiation) to damage cancer cells making it so they cannot replicate and reproduce. To target liver cells and tumors directly, researchers developed what is known as a microsphere of radiation. This tiny spherical device is carefully placed using a microcatheter so that it is placed as close to the tumor as possible in the hepatic (liver) artery. The device will emit radiation as soon as it is implanted and attack the cancer cells from inside the body.
Another similar treatment is now available, only this time the implant is filled with chemotherapy drugs rather than radiation. These chemotherapy beads will release constant doses of the chemotherapy drugs that can help destroy liver cancer cells. The beads are placed in the blood vessels that feed into the tumor to ensure that the medication makes it into that tumor and takes action where it is needed.
For more information about various treatments, consult your oncologist or another professional at an organization such as Firelands Regional Medical Center.