Your liver is the largest internal organ in your body. It weighs about 3 pounds, is approximately the size of a football, and is located in the upper right area of your abdomen, just beneath your rib cage. Your liver is responsible for breaking down nutrients and potentially harmful substances you consume – including medications – into forms that are easier for your body to use or remove. The role your liver plays is so important that you cannot live without it.
If you have liver cancer, you’ll want an interventional radiologist on your care team. The providers at Florida Endovascular and Interventional offer a variety of interventional oncology services for patients with liver cancer. These include in-office procedures to shrink or destroy tumors and improve the survival rate and quality of life for cancer patients.
Types & Causes of Liver Cancer
Liver cancer can be categorized as either primary or metastatic cancer:
- Primary liver cancer. Cancer that originates in the liver is known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) if it arises from the liver tissue.
- Metastatic disease to the liver. The liver is one of the most common sites of spread of many types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, pancreatic, lung, and biliary adenocarcinomas.
It is not known why a liver tumor develops in one person over another. However, there are several well-known risk factors that may make you more likely to develop a liver tumor. These risk factors include:
- Hepatitis B, C infections
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Fatty liver disease
- Liver injury from medications
- Hereditary diseases such as hemochromatosis
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis
How to Tell If You Have Liver Cancer
Like many forms of cancer, there are mild to no symptoms in the early stages of cancer development. By the time signs or symptoms of liver cancer appear, it may include:
- Pain in the upper abdominal area
- Unintentional weight loss
- Abdominal swelling
- Jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes)
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
Screening for liver cancer usually includes blood tests and an abdominal ultrasound or other imaging test, such as a CT scan or MRI. Occasionally, a needle biopsy of liver tissue may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
Treating Liver Cancer
Everyone’s situation is different. Your treatment options will depend on how advanced the cancer is, its size and location, and other highly personalized factors.
At Florida Endovascular and Interventional, we can perform several targeted, minimally invasive methods to shrink a liver tumor, including:
- Radiofrequency thermal ablation – A special needle, once positioned at the tumor, delivers an electric current to heat and destroy cancer cells.
- Cryoablation – In a process similar to thermal ablation, cryoablation uses a specially designed instrument to deliver freezing temperatures directly to a tumor to destroy it.
- Chemoembolization – A catheter is threaded from an artery in the arm or groin to the liver to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to a tumor. This method helps patients avoid most of the nasty side effects associated with traditional IV-delivered chemotherapy.
- Y-90 radioembolization – Y-90 radioembolization also uses a catheter threaded through an artery to deliver anti-cancer treatment. In this case, radiation beads deliver high-energy radiation up to 1 cm from where the beads are positioned. This helps to spare nearby healthy tissue and organs.
All of these treatments may be used in conjunction with other therapeutic efforts, such as medication, traditional chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and a liver transplant.
Liver Tumor Treatment in South Florida
For minimally invasive therapies designed to shrink or destroy liver tumors conveniently performed in our on-site surgical suites, contact Florida Endovascular and Interventional, with offices in Miami Lakes, Plantation, Coconut Creek, and Aventura.
You can reach us by calling the main Florida Endovascular and Interventional phone line at (786) 534-2555 or simply request a consultation now.