Chemoembolization is a modern method of selective chemotherapy of malignant neoplasms, in which the artery feeding the tumor is embolized with a substance containing a chemotherapy drug.
Chemoembolization vs. chemotherapy
Cancer treatment often includes chemotherapy, and this affects not only tumor cells, but the entire body. Fortunately, chemoembolization has entered the clinical practice of oncologists. This is a method of chemotherapy that destroys only the tumor and has minimal side effects.
In comparison with chemotherapy, chemoembolization provides a significant reduction in overall toxicity. Due to the maximum effect directly on the tumor, it is possible to reduce the dosage of chemotherapy drugs. Chemoembolization has two times the bigger damaging effect on the tumor than conventional chemotherapy.
With chemoembolization, there’s no need to wait for the drug to reach the tumor, as it is introduced directly into it. And although the same drugs are used in both methods, chemoembolization has fewer side effects. Indeed, in the case of chemoembolization, the drugs affect only the tumor and not the entire body. Undoubtedly, such treatment is much easier to tolerate. However, this does not mean that conventional chemotherapy has become ineffective. In some cases, both methods are combined.
Benefits of chemoembolization
Benefits of chemoembolization include:
- Low invasiveness
- The selectivity of toxic exposure
- The shorter recovery period after the procedure compared to surgery
- Possibility to use the method in patients with inoperable tumors
- Possibility of repeated treatment
What is the chemoembolization procedure used for?
Indications for the use of chemoembolization are as follows:
- Metastases of neuroendocrine tumors and colorectal cancer in the liver
- Primary liver tumors
- Breast cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Kidney tumors (preoperative chemoembolization)
- Some tumors of the brain
The possibility of chemoembolization performing is determined by a doctor. Some patients have certain indications and contraindications for chemoembolization. The scheme of further treatment is also taken into account.
How the chemoembolization procedure is carried out?
A thin and short catheter is inserted into the vein. Through it, infusion solutions and sedatives are administered. In the thigh area, the catheter is inserted into the femoral artery.
These manipulations are performed under the control of a special X-ray machine: an X-ray contrast agent is injected through the catheter, it stains the vessels, and they become visible on the monitor.
When the hepatic artery becomes visible on the monitor, approaching directly to the tumor, the doctor proceeds to the chemotherapy drugs injection.
The catheters are removed. A sterile bandage is applied to the puncture site.
Are there any side effects after the procedure?
Complications, such as abdominal pain, fever, gallbladder inflammation, insignificant hair loss, and the formation of blood clots in the vessels are possible. Modern technologies help to minimize risks. Serious complications currently occur in less than 5% of cases.
Prognosis after chemoembolization
Chemoembolization helps to improve the quality of life, extending it for sometimes several years. This is a lot for patients with stages 2-4 cancer.
The prognosis will depend on the sensitivity of the tumor to the chemotherapy drug and on the stage of the disease. With advanced cancer, when metastases are present in several organs, chemoembolization usually does not help. But if there are metastases in only one organ or none at all, chemoembolization demonstrates positive results.
Undergoing chemoembolization procedure during the lockdown
Before you look for a hospital for a chemoembolization procedure, you need to make sure that hospitals have the option of treatment at the time of lockdown.
If you want to undergo a chemoembolization procedure abroad, you can do this. In this case, it is safer to contact a medical tourism agency. Booking Health provides a full range of services for the comfort of your treatment during the lockdown.
Booking Health can help you with:
- Choosing the best clinic for chemoembolization procedure
- Translating all the necessary medical reports
- Issuing a visa for treatment abroad during lockdown (even if the embassy of the country chosen for treatment is currently closed)
- Booking accommodation and tickets
- Negotiating with the chosen hospital
Leave a request on the Booking Health website to start your treatment now.