A diagnosis of liver cancer can be terrifying and life-changing. Whether you were just diagnosed with liver cancer, are undergoing, or have finished treatment, you are likely to feel both physically and emotionally transformed by the experience which in turn may influence how you live. While these changes may affect your daily life, there are ways to cope, and we are here to help.
Side Effects From Liver Cancer Treatment
Side effects can occur with any type of treatment for liver cancer, but everyone’s experience is different. For example, patients receiving chemotherapy can have many side effects, whereas patients treated with radioembolization (Y-90) typically have few or none at all. If you develop side effects, they typically occur within a week or 2 after the procedure, but are generally transient, resolve on their own, and only very rarely last for more than a few weeks to months.
Side effects of liver cancer treatment will depend mainly on the procedure that will be performed. Common liver cancer treatments and their side effects include:
- Chemoembolization. This treatment may cause nausea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain.
- Radiation Therapy. The side effects of radiation to the abdomen depend on the dose and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or other issues with digestion.
- Chemotherapy. Side effects depend on the specific drugs and the dose and include hair loss, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and mouth sores.
- Radioembolization (Y-90). Side effects are usually very mild, and the procedure is generally very well tolerated. However, patients may have pain in their abdomen or nausea for 1-2 days, experience a slight increase in temperature, chills, or have a feeling of pressure in the abdomen.
Some side effects aren’t always obvious. Your healthcare team might not know that you are having a difficult time sleeping or that you are having trouble remembering things. It is always important to tell them about any side effects you are experiencing after a procedure so that the health care team can find ways to relieve or manage your side effects, help you feel more comfortable, and potentially keep any side effects from worsening.
Coping With the Emotional Effects of Liver Cancer Treatments
Undergoing treatment for liver cancer can be emotionally tiring. You may experience a range of emotions, from sadness to anger, but it is critically important to remain optimistic and continue living by keeping a positive outlook on life despite the difficulties inherent in dealing with liver cancer. Oftentimes, patients find it difficult to express how they feel to their loved ones. This is why the existence of support groups can be tremendously helpful.
- Connect with Other Cancer Survivors. There is a growing community of cancer survivors that can help you find your own path through cancer. This community is getting larger as liver cancer treatments continue to improve. You can attend a support group or an educational program for survivors, or you can connect with a cancer survivor through a “buddy program.”
- Consider Counseling. Counseling is a great way to help patients process their mixed emotions about their challenges dealing with their disease. Ask your oncology care team to recommend a counselor who understands the difficulties of dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment plan.
Leading-Edge Liver Cancer Treatments in New York
The minimally invasive treatments provided at USA Oncology Centers for patients with liver cancer are generally well tolerated with little to no side effects post-treatment. As a result, patients may resume their normal activity almost immediately after. Our treatments are safe, effective, and have been shown to extend the lives of patients, and improve their quality of life.
Our minimally invasive liver cancer treatments in New York include the following:
We’re here for you
We believe that the patient-doctor relationship is at the core of medicine. We’re here to help you through your cancer journey - emotionally, physically and financially.Schedule Online