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Chemoembolization Cancer Therapy

What is chemoembolization?

Chemoembolization is a procedure used to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. When it is used to treat a liver tumor, it is called hepatic artery chemoembolization.

How do I prepare for chemoembolization?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.

What will happen during chemoembolization?

  • You may be given local anesthesia to numb the area. You will be awake with local anesthesia, but you will not feel pain. Your healthcare provider will make a small incision, and insert a catheter into the tumor area. He will guide the catheter until it reaches the blood vessels of the tumor.

  • Your healthcare provider will put the chemo medicine in the catheter. He will then inject a substance to cut off the blood and oxygen supply to the tumor. He may also use a treatment called ablation to help destroy the tumor. Electric currents, lasers, and ultrasound are some ways to cause ablation. He will remove the catheter after all of the treatments are complete.

What are the risks of chemoembolization?

  • You may need to have the procedure repeated. You may get postembolization syndrome, which includes symptoms such as a fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Chemoembolization may cause severe bleeding, and you may need a blood transfusion. It may also cause fatigue, dizziness, or a fast heartbeat. You may get a bruise or an infection where the catheter was inserted.

  • You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. Medicine used during the procedure may cause shortness of breath or a lung infection. It may cause life-threatening harm to your stomach, liver, heart, or brain.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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