Liver metastases are most often detected in patients with primary tumors of the colon, lungs, stomach, pancreas, and breast. Cancer of the biliary tract, esophagus, ovaries, prostate, kidney, and melanoma is less likely to affect the liver. Metastatic liver cancer is usually characterized by rapid progression.
Diagnostics of liver metastases
Diagnosis of cancer is based on a set of diagnostic methods. For liver metastases detection, ultrasound scanning, MRI with contrast enhancement, PET, and ultrasound-guided tumor biopsy are used.
It should be emphasized that MRI with a contrast enhancement is considered the modern “golden standard” of the diagnosis of liver metastases.
What is embolization?
Embolization is the minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer that is especially effective in secondary liver lesions, i.e. liver metastases.
The essence of this method is embolization (blocking of blood flow) of the artery feeding the tumor with the additional local administration of chemotherapeutic agents.
Types of embolization for liver metastases treatment
Liver metastases can be treated with several embolization methods.
Transarterial chemoembolization of the hepatic artery involves the injection of a chemotherapeutic drug, followed by particles that block the blood vessels. This procedure leads to the death of the cancer cells, without damage to healthy liver tissue. The hepatic artery can also be blocked without chemotherapy. This procedure is called bland transarterial embolization. However, in cases of liver metastases, doctors more often give preference to chemoembolization.
How does chemoembolization work?
Chemoembolization affects the tumor in two ways.
First, the targeted injection of a chemotherapy drug into the vessels that feed the tumor allows creating high concentrations of the chemotherapy drug.
Secondly, by introducing emboli (special small particles) into the lumen of the vessels feeding the tumor, the blood supply to the tumor is cut off. As blood carries oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for tumor growth, restricting blood flow significantly slows down or stops tumor growth.
How is embolization performed?
Under the control of special equipment (angiography), a doctor inserts a thin flexible catheter into a femoral artery in the groin region. The catheter is then moved directly into an artery that supplies blood to the tumor. Through the catheter, a mixture of embolizing substance and chemotherapy drug (in the case of chemoembolization) is injected close to the tumor. The embolizing substance blocks blood flow to the tumor, therefore stopping the tumor growth.
Contraindications for embolization
The embolization procedure is not performed in cases of:
- Treatment of malignant neoplasms of the uterus, except for inoperable tumors
- Intolerance to the injected substances
- Acute inflammatory processes in the genitourinary system
- Blood clotting pathologies
How can I undergo treatment with embolization during a lockdown?
Many countries have closed their borders following the lockdown regimen, due to the spread of the COVID-19. Thus, undergoing treatment abroad has become more complicated.
In case you need to undergo chemoembolization for liver metastases promptly, to continue your treatment abroad, or to make sure you get the best treatment possible, know that you can still undergo treatment abroad even if your country is in lockdown.
Booking Health can facilitate the arrangement of embolization for liver metastases by providing the following services:
- Communication with the chosen hospital
- Providing patients with up-to-date information about the cost of treatment
- Translation of medical reports
- Solving the issues with receiving a medical visa, even if the request for a visa has been declined
- If due to lockdown the embassy is closed completely, Booking Health resolves the issue through the federal police
- Medical visa extension when it is necessary to continue the treatment abroad
- Flight and accommodation booking
- Interpreting services
You can be free of unnecessary stress, while Booking Health takes care of all organizational issues. To specify any information about cancer care during a lockdown, leave a request on the Booking Health website, and a medical advisor will contact you shortly.