What Are The Treatment Options For Liver Cancer?

What Are The Treatment Options For Liver Cancer?
23 Oct 2023
9 mins
Table Of Content
What Are The Treatment Options For Liver Cancer?

    "Every person with liver cancer deserves the dignity of the best standard of care."


    Amidst the labyrinth of challenges in liver cancer, the beacon of hope lies in the dynamic world of treatment strategies. With its intricate web of surgical marvels, cutting-edge therapies, and compassionate care, the field of liver cancer treatment is continuously evolving. In this blog, let's explore the essentials of liver cancer treatment and its type, side effects, and survival rate.


    Why Should We Safeguard Our Liver?


    Your liver is a vital organ in your body responsible for most of the important functions like metabolism, immunity, digestion, detoxification, and storage of vitamins. The liver is the major role player in nearly every organ system in the body by interacting with the endocrine and gastrointestinal systems (digestion and metabolism). It acts as a bridge to transfer the nutrients into our bloodstream.


    Managing Liver Cancer: Exploring Treatment Options


    The treatment of liver cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer and the medical history of the patient. It's essential to consult with a doctor to determine the most suitable treatment plan that fits your health. It can be broadly classified into surgical and non-surgical approaches. It has different treatment measures, which are given below:


    Surgical treatment and recovery


    It is used to remove a well-grown solid tumor in a particular place of the liver. Resection and liver transplantation are two surgical options that help to treat liver cancer, and after the surgery, it takes some time to heal the wounds caused by surgery. So, If you plan to go for surgery as an option, always remember to give enough rest to the body. After every surgery, our body needs a period of recovery. How long this takes will depend on your age, the type of surgery you had, and your overall fitness and health. It may take a few days or a week to recover from a small operation, but it can take a few months for a large procedure.


    Resection: Surgical resection involves the removal of the liver tumor along with a healthy portion of liver tissue. It is suitable only when the cancer is specific to a particular area of the liver and has not spread to any other parts of the body.


    Liver Transplant: Liver transplantation is surgery to remove the cancer-affected liver and replace it with a healthy liver (donor). It is suitable for patients with early-stage liver cancer and underlying liver disease. It may not be possible for individuals with metastatic cancer (spreading of cancer from one part to another part of the body).


    Post-Surgery Protocol: 5 Essential Steps For A Smooth Recovery


    1. Most patients will need a high level of care (you will spend at least 5–10 days in the hospital after a liver resection), and your doctor will decide whether to keep you in special care like ICU (intensive care unit), and the duration of the stay.
    2. Stay connected with your healthcare provider after surgery (follow-up visit) and Inform your doctor immediately if you face any trouble or infection after the surgery.
    3. Avoid or limit drinking alcohol and eat a healthy diet to boost your immune system.
    4. The risk of raising an immune response against the donor's liver is high (graft rejection); hence, it is essential to be cautious for at least six months.
    5. Immunosuppressive drugs like azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, and cyclosporine can be used to prevent rejection of organs and treat infection and complications caused by liver transplantation.


    Non-Surgical Liver Cancer Treatment


    If the patient's health condition does not support surgery, then the doctor will suggest non-surgical liver cancer treatments, like radiation therapy, ablation therapy, chemotherapy, target therapy, and immunotherapy, are the best options for treating liver cancer. Individuals with advanced stages of liver cancer and multiple tumors can be recommended to go for non-surgical treatment by their doctor.


    • Radiation Therapy: Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to kill the tumor cells. It can be delivered externally or internally. SIRT (Selective Internal Radiation Therapy) may be recommended for older patients whose livers are not severely damaged, and surgery is not applicable.
    • Ablation Therapy: Ablation Therapy uses techniques that involve radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave therapy, and ethanol or cryoablation to kill tumors without surgery.
    • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves drugs to kill the cancer cells, and it can be administered either orally or intravenously. Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is a type of chemotherapy that directly targets liver tumors.
    • Targeted Therapy: Target therapy involves drugs that specifically target abnormal cancer cells and are designed to interfere with the growth and spread of affected cancer cells.
    • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy boosts our body's immune system to help fight against cancer. Some immunotherapy drugs for liver cancer treatment are atezolizumab, durvalumab (Imfinzi), and pembrolizumab (keytruda).
    • Embolization Therapy: Embolization Therapy blocks or limits the blood flow to the tumor by delivering the radioactive particles through tubing (catheter) into the arteries of the liver tumor.


    Success Rate Of Liver Cancer Treatment


    The rate of survival after liver cancer treatment is high if the individual has had surgery to remove their cancer. For patients with early-stage liver cancers who are treated with a liver transplant, the 5-year survival rate is in the range of 60% to 70%.


    Side Effects Of Liver Cancer Treatment


    Even though the treatment of liver cancer has a lot of benefits, it also can cause side effects like other treatments. The side effects usually depend on the type of treatment and individual health condition. Some of the liver cancer treatment side effects are given below:


    • Fatigue: It is the most common side effect. Even healthy people and individuals who are under any cancer treatment can also face this.
    • Pain: You can experience some pain at the surgery place.
    • Low blood count: Individuals under chemotherapy treatment have a side effect of low red and white blood cells.
    • Nausea: It is a very common side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
    • Sleep disorder: Patients who are under liver cancer treatment may face sleep disorders.
    • Nerve disorder: Chemotherapy drugs can also affect nerve control in individuals (loss of sensation).


    Wrap It Up!


    The treatment of liver cancer is a multifaceted process that needs a complete approach. Make a note of this and use the various available treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, immunotherapy, and ablation or embolization therapy, in a well-planned way. Liver cancer is not a deathly disease if you use treatment as a proper tool.


    "Keep shining brightly even in the darkest times"

    Written by
    Dr Archana GuptaBDS
    AboutDr. Archana is a Medical Content Writer at MrMed. She graduated with a Bachelor of Dentistry (BDS) from Surendera Dental College, Ganganangar, Rajasthan in 2019. She participated in various aspects of clinical services, and research projects and has written various blogs and articles. She is proficient in researching, writing, editing, and proofreading of medical content and blogs.
    Tags :liver cancer treatmentside effects of liver cancer treatmentsurvival rateliver cancer surgery recovery