The next critical step after diagnosis and staging is treatment. The following are some of the treatment options available for liver cancer.
When it comes to liver cancer surgery, there are two options. A resection, which is a partial removal of the tumour, and a liver transplant are the two options. If surgery is known to be the only reasonable cure for liver cancer, this is the therapy choice.
A partial hepatectomy occurs when a portion of the liver is removed. If only a single tumour is present and the tumour has not progressed into the liver's blood arteries, this type of surgery is frequently recommended. This operation is also only performed if the patient's liver function is normal and he or she is in good health.
Transplantation of the liver
For patients with tumours that cannot be medically removed, a liver transplant may be a possibility. It is typically used to treat patients with tiny tumours, but it can also be used to treat individuals with resectable cancerstoToregularly.
Ablation of a tumour
The procedure of eliminating a tumour without removing it is known as ablation. These treatments are employed in patients with a few tiny tumours as well as those who are not in good enough health to undergo surgery. There are a variety of approaches that can be employed, including
Ablation with radiofrequency (RFA)
High-energy radio waves are used to eliminate malignancies during a radio-frequency ablation technique. To guide a needle-like instrument through the skin and into the tumour, a CT scan or ultrasound is employed. A current is delivered via the instrument's tip, causing high-frequency radio waves to be released, which heat the tumour and kill the cells. This technique is beneficial in tumours upto 5 cm and away from blood
Cryoablation is a treatment that destroys damaged tissue by exposing it to intense cold. The technique is carried out with hollow needles that circulate cooled thermally conductive fluids. The cryoprobes are placed close enough to the target that the freezing process will destroy the damaged tissue. This approach is effective for tumours up to 5 cm in diameter.
Ethanol (alcohol) is injected directly into the tumour to kill the cells in this procedure. Percutaneous ethanol injection is another name for this treatment. This can be done again and again.
Microwaves are transmitted through a probe in this method, and heat is employed to eradicate the tumour.
Chemotherapy is the process of killing cancer cells by using cytotoxic or anti-cancer medications. The intravenous approach, in which a tube is inserted into a vein with a needle, and the oral method, in which the chemotherapy medications are given orally by the patient, are the two most popular methods for administering chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may be used after surgery to eradicate any cancer cells that remain.
The majority of chemotherapy treatments are ineffective against liver cancer. Even while some chemotherapy medications are proven to be most effective in the event of large liver cancer tumours, these drugs only decrease a tiny fraction of the tumours, and their responses rarely stay long.
Hepatic Artery infusion
Because systemic chemotherapy has a poor response, hepatic artery infusion is mostly used for liver cancer. Chemo medicines are directly attached to the hepatic artery during a hepatic artery infusion operation. The chemo is administered straight to the liver, but it is broken down by the liver before it reaches the rest of the body. This method permits more chemotherapy to reach the tumour while reducing negative effects. Hepatic artery infusion has been proven to be the most effective strategy for shrinking tumours in several studies, however, more research is needed in this area.
Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that specifically targets cancer cells, such as specific genes, proteins, or even the tissue environment that promotes cancer cell proliferation. This method of treatment stops cancer cells from growing and spreading while minimising the damage to healthy cells. Targeted therapies are utilised in a variety of ways, including the following:
Angiogenesis is the process of producing new blood cells, and this type of targeted medicine focuses on inhibiting them. The tumour requires nutrients from blood cells to survive, and anti-angiogenesis therapy aims to starve the tumour of these nutrients.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors
An EGFR inhibitor is a type of targeted medicine, and studies have shown that blocking the epidermal growth factor receptor can help to stop or reduce the progression of tumours.
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment in which high-energy rays are used to kill cancer cells. There are various types of radiation therapy, including:
External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)
External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) is a type of radiation therapy that uses a machine to focus radiation from outside the body. The procedure is similar to having an X-ray, with the amount of radiation provided varying according to several conditions. Usually, radiation is delivered over a few days. Because liver cells are extremely sensitive to radiation, excessive doses of external beam radiation are not possible, and normal tissue may be destroyed as a result. Radiation is a painless technique that takes only a few minutes; however, getting the patient ready for radiation takes longer since the radiation team must designate the proper angles at which the radiation beams should be aimed.
Stereotactic body radiotherapy
Very focused beams of high dose radiation are aimed at the tumour from a variety of angles in this type of radiation therapy. For each treatment, the body is placed in a specially built body frame to precisely focus the radiation.
Small numbers of radioactive beads are injected into the hepatic artery to treat liver cancers in this operation. Small amounts of radiation are used in this technique, and it only goes a short distance.
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that involves administering medications to the patient's immune system to help it fight and destroy cancer cells.