Chemosaturation Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve just been diagnosed with liver cancer. Can I have chemosaturation therapy straight away or do I have to have other treatments first?
Everyone’s different and we might suggest treating you in a combination of ways. One of our consultants will be happy to talk things through with you.
Is chemosaturation therapy a one off treatment?
Chemosaturation therapy can be repeated and currently on average patients receive 2-3 treatments at bi-monthly intervals. Each patient is unique so any treatment schedules are tailored to each person specifically.
What sort of cancer does chemosaturation therapy treat?
Chemosaturation therapy can treat cancer that has started in the liver, known as primary liver cancer, as well as cancer that started in another part of your body and has now spread to the liver, which is called secondary or metastatic liver cancer.
Am I suitable for chemosaturation therapy treatment?
Chemosaturation therapy is suitable for patients with primary liver cancer and secondary/metastatic liver cancer.
Whether we can give you chemosaturation therapy depends on a number of things. They include:
- the stage and grade of the cancer
- your overall health
- how much cancer you have and whether it’s mainly in the liver
- how healthy the liver is, including the parts that don’t have cancer
- the location of the veins and arteries to the tumours
- what treatment you’ve already had, including surgery
What does chemosaturation therapy do?
It’s been shown to help slow or reverse the growth of tumours from certain cancers in the liver, but it’s not a cure.
Does chemosaturation therapy hurt?
No. We give you a general anaesthetic. When you wake up, you might have some catheters in, which can be a bit uncomfortable. If it is, we can give you some medication.
How long does chemosaturation therapy take?
The treatment usually takes about three to five hours and you’ll stay with us for a couple of days afterwards so we can keep an eye on you. Usually the procedure requires an in-patient stay of 3-4 days.
I’ve just been diagnosed with uveal melanoma with secondary liver cancer. Is chemosaturation therapy right for me and if so, how soon can I be treated?
Between 80-90% of patients with uveal melanoma, also known as ocular melanoma, develop secondary cancer, mainly in the liver. Studies of uveal melanoma patients who’ve been treated with chemosaturation therapy have shown good results. Whether we can treat you will depend on a number of things, like your overall health and the stage and grade of your cancer.
If you are found suitable for the treatment then it is usually planned about 2-4 weeks after the consultation with the Interventional Radiologist, depending on pre-operative tests and co-ordination with other treatments that may be ongoing.
How is chemosaturation therapy different from other treatments?
Chemosaturation therapy is a procedure where we can give a high dose of an anti-cancer drug directly to the liver, which can help destroy the cancer. As the drug saturates the liver, it targets not only tumours we can see, but those too small to show up in a scan. And because we isolate the liver during treatment, which stops most of the drug from spreading to other parts of the body, you might not have as many side effects as you would with traditional chemotherapy.
Will I feel sick or lose my hair?
Because we stop most of the anti-cancer drug from spreading to other parts of your body, you might not have as many side effects as you would with traditional chemotherapy. Many patients don’t lose their hair, but everyone’s different. Our consultant will talk you through what to expect, should you be a suitable candidate for chemosaturation therapy.
Most patients only report minor fatigue after the procedure, but are soon back to their normal routines.
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