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Chemoembolization is a way to treat cancer in the liver. It can be used for cancer that began in the liver. Or it can be used for cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the liver from other parts of the body. The procedure treats only cancer in the liver. It is done by a specially trained doctor. The doctor is called an interventional radiologist.
A tumor needs a supply of blood to grow. The hepatic artery is a large blood vessel. It sends blood to the liver. As a tumor grows, it gets most of its blood from this artery. During the procedure, chemotherapy medications are put into the artery. It is then blocked off. This makes sure the medications stay in the liver. And it cuts off blood to the tumor.
Blocking the tumor’s blood flow so it receives no oxygen or nutrients
Delivering high doses of chemotherapy medications directly to the tumor site
Keeping chemotherapy medications in the tumor for long periods of time
Reducing side effects to the rest of the body because the medications do not leave the liver
Blood clot in a blood vessel
Infection or bruising at the catheter insertion site
Death of normal liver tissue that may result in liver failure
Damage to the gallbladder
Problems due to the contrast medium such as allergic reaction or kidney damage
Damage to an artery