What is chemoembolization?
Chemoembolization is a procedure that combines chemotherapy and embolization as a way to treat cancer. It is nonsurgical and minimally invasive, typically performed by a highly specialized physician known as an interventional radiologist. Interventional radiologists use guided imaging to perform a variety of intravenous procedures.
In chemoembolization, your radiologist injects cancer-treating drugs directly into the blood vessel that’s feeding a cancerous tumor. Along with the medications, an embolic agent is placed within the blood vessel. This essentially traps the chemotherapy treatment in the tumor with the intention of killing the cancer.
Chemoembolization is most often used to treat people with liver cancer, but it can be used in other areas as well.
What types of cancers can be treated with chemoembolization?
Chemoembolization can be used to treat:
- Liver cancer
- Colon cancer
- Breast cancer
- Pancreatic tumors
- Cancer of the eyes
- Vascular tumors
- Bone cancers
- Connective tissue cancers
Chemoembolization is sometimes used as a sole treatment for your cancer, or in combination with other treatment methods including surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
What is involved in a chemoembolization procedure?
Since chemoembolization is a minimally invasive procedure, you may be able to have it done right in the interventional radiology suite at Excel Medical Imaging in New Port Richey, Florida. It typically takes about 90 minutes to complete, but you may stay in bed to recover for several hours afterward.
During the procedure, one of the expert interventional radiologists uses guided imaging and X-rays to get a clear picture of which arteries are feeding the cancerous tumor. They insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm to administer a mild sedative.
The radiologist makes a tiny incision and inserts a small catheter into your femoral artery so it can travel to your liver or other treatment area. Once the catheter is in place, your doctor injects the anti-cancer drugs and and embolic agents into the blood vessel to trap the medication inside the tumor. Finally, your doctor removes the catheter and you do not need stitches.
Follow-up X-rays chart the success of the procedure by indicating that the tumor is shrinking.
If you think you may be a good candidate for chemoembolization, contact the caring team of interventional radiologists at Excel Medical Imaging to learn more. You can call or schedule a consultation online.