Treatment for liver tumours
Advanced pancreatic NETs often spread to the liver. The tumours on the liver are called metastases.
Treatments to control them include:
Radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation
Using an ultrasound or CT scan as a guide, the doctor inserts a fine needle through the abdomen into the liver tumour. The needle sends out radio waves or microwaves that produce heat and destroy the cancer cells. The treatment takes about 15 minutes and you can usually go home after a few hours. Side effects, including pain or fever, can be managed with medicines.
In this procedure, the doctor inserts a catheter into the hepatic artery, which supplies blood to the liver. A chemotherapy drug is released into the artery, along with tiny particles called microspheres, which block the flow of blood into the tumour. This causes the tumour to shrink. The procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist.
Selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT)
Also known as radioembolisation, this is done by an interventional radiologist. The radiologist inserts a catheter into the liver’s main artery and then delivers tiny radioactive beads (SIR-spheres) to the liver through the catheter. The beads give a high dose of radiation to the tumour while causing little damage to normal liver tissue.
Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department, Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, Northern Sydney Local Health District Cancer and Palliative Care Network, and Conjoint Professor, Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lynda Dunstone, Consumer; Kate Graham, Accredited Practising Dietitian – Upper GI Dietitian, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Gina Hesselberg, Radiation Oncologist, St George Hospital Cancer Centre, NSW; Dr Marni Nenke, Endocrinologist and Mary Overton Early Career Research Fellow, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Nicholas O’Rourke, Head of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Royal Brisbane Hospital and The University of Queensland, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian – Upper GI, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gail Smith, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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