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What is Chemoembolization?
Chemoembolization is one of the many approaches to treating cancer-related issues through a minimally invasive procedure. This method of treatment is specifically designed to target and reduce the blood supply that feeds the tumor(s) commonly found within the liver. Chemoembolization is generally used under the guidance of diagnostic imaging and can be in conjunction with other treatment options such as radiation or surgery. This advanced method assures a more concentrated and longer effectively-active treatment process. Chemoembolization requires the patient to go under anesthesia or moderate sedation. Through the process of Chemoembolization, a small catheter is inserted in an artery through the groin. At times, physicians may even choose to insert the catheter through the wrist. The catheter is then threaded directly into the liver artery that feeds the tumor. Small micro spheres impregnated with chemotherapy drugs are injected into the catheter and directly to a specific tumor(s).
Chemoembolization’s highly concentrated approach deprives the tumors of any oxygen or nutrients while trapping in the chemotherapy micro-spheres at the site of the tumor. This procedure has proven to be highly effective in keeping the overexposure of chemotherapy drugs to healthy surrounding tissue to a minimum, while effectively treating the malignant areas of concern.
What are the side effects?
It is common for patients to report various degrees of flu-like symptoms, including nausea, pain, and even a slight fever. Patients may begin to notice symptoms directly following the procedure, which can last up to a few days. Such symptoms can be treated and subsided with medication. Patients can experience lower than usual energy levels for a few weeks afterward. This procedure usually involves a hospital stay of less than a day and is considered outpatient.
Complications such as abscess occur in less than 3% of patients treated by Chemoembolization.
Serious complications from Chemoembolization are rare.