Cancer may spread from any part of the body to the liver. There the cancer cells may grow for months or years before they are detected. One of the most common sources of metastatic liver cancer is from tumors of the colon and rectum.
Surgical removal of liver tumors offers the best chance for a cure. Unfortunately, liver tumors are often inoperable because the tumor may be too large, or they have grown into major blood vessels or other vital structures. Sometimes, many small tumors are spread throughout the liver, making surgery too risky or impractical. Surgical removal is not possible for more than two-thirds of primary liver cancer patients and 90 percent of patients with secondary liver cancer.
Tumors need a blood supply, which they actively generate, in order to feed themselves and grow. As vascular experts, interventional radiologists are uniquely skilled in using the vascular system to deliver targeted treatments via a catheter throughout the body. In treating cancer patients, interventional radiologists use non-surgical localized techniques to attack the cancerous tumor from inside the body without medicating or affecting other parts of the body.
The embolization procedure effectively cuts off the blood supply feeding the tumor. Sometimes, radiation or chemotherapy may be delivered directly to the tumor during the embolization procedure. These are referred to as radioembolization or chemoembolization. Radiofrequency ablation uses heat to destroy tumor cells. Cryoablation uses an extremely cold gas to “freeze” tumors to destroy them. Since every patient is different, we use a procedure depending on your unique circumstances.