Liver Cancer Treatment
Liver cancer is the unregulated growth of cells originating in the liver which can continue to spread throughout the liver and to other areas. Treatment for liver cancer depends on the patient’s age, overall health and personal preferences and on the stage of the disease.
Liver cancer treatment options may include:
- CyberKnife— The CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System is the most advanced system for the delivery of radiosurgery, a form of therapy that precisely focuses radiation on tumors or other conditions in one to five treatments. Learn more about CyberKnife.
- Drug Therapy — Certain medications can interfere with a tumor’s ability to create new blood vessels and slow the cancer’s growth.
- Chemotherapy — Chemoembolization is a form of chemotherapy that injects drugs into the liver.
- Heating Cells — Radiofrequency ablation uses an electric current to heat and destroy cancer cells. A CT scan or ultrasound help guide the surgeon to insert thin needles into the tumor, which is heated by the current.
- Freezing Cells — Cryoablation uses extreme cold to destroy cancer cells. A cryoprobe instrument containing liquid nitrogen and is placed directly on tumors.
- Alcohol Injection — Pure alcohol can be injected directly into tumors through the skin or during an operation, causing the tumorous cells to die.
- Radiation Therapy — High-powered energy beams destroy cancer cells and shrinks tumors. Microscopic radioactive spheres can also be injected into the liver to treat tumors.
- Partial liver removal — A partial hepatectomy can remove the cancerous part of the liver if the tumor(s) is small.
- Transplant surgery — The diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy donor liver. This treatment is only an option for a small percentage of patients with early-stage liver cancer. Transplant surgery is sometimes preceded by radiation therapy treatment of the tumors.
- Alternative Medicine — Acupuncture, deep breathing exercise, listening to music and massage therapy can help control pain for people with advanced liver cancer.
Liver cancer treatment side effects & risks
Most cancer treatments can have side effects. Depending on the type of treatment, the stage of the cancer and personal factors that vary with each patient, they can include:
- Allergic reaction to medications
- Infections from invasive procedures
- Fatigue and nausea from chemo and radiation therapy
- Complications from surgery and accompanying anesthesia
- Rejection of transplanted liver
- Recurrence of liver cancer
- Side effects resulting from damage of the healthy liver tissue by the treatment.
More about CyberKnife treatment for liver cancer
CyberKnife is a specialized alternative to surgery and traditional radiation therapy. The CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System is the most advanced system for the delivery of radiosurgery, a form of therapy that precisely targets and kills cancerous cells or tumors while greatly reducing the damage done to healthy cells.
Treatment is non-invasive, requires fewer sessions, is comfortable for the patient and is often more effective. Research supports the use of CyberKnife for liver cancer.
CyberKnife is often the best or only option for patients with hard to reach or inoperable tumors. It is also an excellent option for those who would otherwise have unacceptable side effects or complications when treated by other methods, or require treatment after other attempts to treat have failed.