Chemotherapy according to Cancer types
Chemotherapy for Liver Cancer
Chemotherapy is a treatment for the killing of cancer cells with medications. Chemo may be a choice for people whose Liver Cancer cannot be treated with surgery, who have not responded to local therapies such as ablation or embolization, or who are no longer affected with Targeted therapy.
What Chemotherapy medications are used to treat liver cancer?
Unfortunately, most chemo medications do not have a significant effect on hepatic cancer. Recent research has shown that a mixture of medications may be more effective than only using a single chemo drug. Yet even such drug combinations shrink only a limited number of tumors and sometimes the responses do not last long. Moreover, most studies indicate that systemic chemo do not enable patients to live longer.
The most common Chemotherapy drugs for treating Liver Cancer include:
Combinations of 2 or 3 of these medicines are sometimes used. GEMOX (gemcitabine plus oxaliplatin) is a choice for people who are relatively stable and who can handle more than one drug.
How is Chemotherapy given in liver cancer?
You can get Chemotherapy in different ways.
Drugs are injected or taken by mouth directly into a vein (IV). Such medications penetrate the bloodstream and touch almost all regions of the body, making this therapy potentially effective for cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.
With IV chemo, delivering chemo requires a slightly larger and more durable catheter in the venous system. They are known as CVCs, Central Venous Access Devices (CVADs), or Central Lines. They are used right into your blood to put medicines, blood products, nutrients, or fluids. They can also be used for checking blood flow. There are a number of different kinds of CVCs. The two most popular forms are the PICC line and the port.
Doctors administer chemo in cycles, with each treatment phase followed by a recovery period to allow you time to recover from the drug effects. Cycles most often last for 2 or 3 weeks. Timing varies according to the medications used. Of example, the chemo is given only on the first day of the cycle, for other medications. It is given, together with others, in a row for a few days, or once a week. The chemo schedule repeats at the end of the cycle, in order to continue the next cycle.
Advanced Liver Cancer Treatment is dependent on how well it functions, and the side effects that you have.
Drugs are inserted straight through an artery that has the tumor heading to the section of the body. That focuses the chemo on that area’s cancer cells. It eliminates side effects by constraining the amount of drug that enters the rest of the body. Hepatic artery infusion, or chemo given directly into the hepatic artery, is regional Chemotherapy that can be used for Liver Cancer.
Hepatic artery infusion
Doctors have studied putting chemo drugs directly into the hepatic artery to see if it could be more effective than systemic chemo. This technique is known as hepatic artery infusion (HAI). It is somewhat different from chemoembolization, as it involves Surgery to insert an infusion pump under the abdomen ‘s skin (belly). The pump is an mounted on a catheter connecting with the hepatic artery. This is done under general anesthesia when the patient is sleeping. The chemo is injected into the reservoir of the pump with a needle through the skin and is released into the hepatic artery slowly and steadily.
Most medication is broken down by healthy liver cells before it can reach the rest of the body. This method gives the tumor a greater dose of chemo than systemic chemo but does not increase side effects. The most commonly used medications for HAI include floxuridine, cisplatin and oxaliplatin.
HAI can be used for people with very large liver cancers that cannot be surgically removed. This procedure may not be appropriate in all cases, because installing the pump and catheter requires surgery, an operation that many cases with Liver Cancer may not be able to handle.
Early studies have shown that HAI is often effective in shrinking tumors, but it still needs further work.
Possible side effects of Chemotherapy for liver cancer
Chemo drugs target rapidly dividing cells and thus they function against cancer cells. Yet other cells in the body, such as those in the bone marrow, mouth and intestine lining, and hair follicles, divide rapidly, too. Chemo is also likely to affect these cells, and this can lead to side effects.
Chemo’s side effects depend on the form and dosage of drugs given, and the amount of time taken. Typical side effects include:
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased chance of infections (from low white blood cell counts)
- Easy bruising or bleeding (from low blood Platelet counts)
- Fatigue (from low red blood cell counts)
Usually, these side effects do not last long and go away once treatment is over. Some means of lessening them. To help reduce side effects, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse about the drugs.
Along with the potential side effects in the above list, certain medications may have special side effects of their own. Ask what to expect from the health care team.
When undergoing chemotherapy, you should mention any side effects you experience to your medical team so you can be treated promptly. In some cases, the doses of the Chemotherapy drugs may need to be lowered or care may need to be postponed or halted so that side effects do not get worse.