At USA Oncology Centers, we recognize that cancer treatments can be stressful. If a radioembolization (Y-90), transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), or another non-surgical therapy has been planned, this information will serve as a guide and help safely prepare for the procedure.
Ask Your Doctor
One of the most important things prior to receiving any kind of cancer therapy is to ask questions about any topic that is unclear to reduce anxiety and stress about the treatment plan. After your doctor recommends a minimally-invasive liver cancer treatment, a few questions you may ask include:
- What is the goal of this treatment?
- How will it be delivered (through an IV or catheter)?
- How long will the procedure take?
- What side effects can I expect? How soon after the procedure can I expect to experience side effects?
- Who should I contact if I experience any of these side effects?
- Are there any potential long-term negative effects of this treatment?
- Is there anything I can do to prevent or manage these side effects?
- What does the preparation for this treatment involve?
Preparing for Y-90 radioembolization and TACE
Radioembolization (Y-90) is a relatively new, safe, and highly effective treatment for liver cancer that consists of delivering high doses of radiation directly and precisely to the tumor in the liver under imaging guidance without affecting the remainder of the healthy liver tissue. This procedure uses a radioactive isotope yttrium90 (Y90), which is contained within tiny particles that are delivered to the tumors in the liver through a catheter. While this treatment is not a cure for liver cancer, it has been shown to prolong patients’ lives and greatly improve their quality of life. This procedure is generally performed in an outpatient setting and is generally extremely well-tolerated whereby patients experience few, if any, side effects from the treatment.
Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is another non-surgical treatment for liver cancer that is similar to Y90 radioembolization but, instead of radioactive particles, delivers high doses of chemotherapy directly and precisely to the tumors in the liver combined with embolization to keep the chemotherapy drugs within the tumor. These anti-cancer (chemotherapy) drugs are injected directly into the artery that supplies the tumor in the liver, after which tiny embolic particles are placed inside that artery thereby trapping the chemotherapy within the tumor and blocking arterial inflow to the tumor.
If you are scheduled to undergo a radioembolization (Y-90) or transarterial chemoembolization procedure, there are several things you should know, such as:
- Several days before treatment, you will have a consultation with the interventional radiologist who will answer any questions you may have.
- Tell your doctor about the medications you take and any allergies to medications you may have, especially to local anesthetic, general anesthesia, or contrast material. Your doctor may tell you to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or blood thinners before your treatment.
- Prior to treatment, your doctor will perform a blood test to check your liver function and determine if your blood clots normally.
- You will receive specific instructions on how to prepare, including any changes you need to make to your regular medication schedule.
- You will receive specific instructions regarding eating and drinking before treatment.
- You will be given a sedative prior to the procedure.
- The nurse will give you a gown to wear during your treatment.
In addition, Y-90 requires that you receive an angiogram seven to ten days before treatment that will produce pictures of the blood vessels feeding the tumor. With both types of treatment, it is important to note that there is no danger in returning home immediately after the procedure, and most patients resume normal activities within a few days.
Minimally-Invasive Liver Cancer Treatments in New York
If you were diagnosed with primary or secondary liver cancer, it is important that you know what to expect in the months ahead. That is where your USA Oncology Centers care team comes in. We will help you understand your treatment options, determine an optimal treatment plan, and address any questions or concerns you may have. In addition, we will provide you with resources to learn more about your specific type of cancer.
At USA Oncology Centers, our patients always come first. To learn more about our minimally-invasive treatment options, call us at 855.870.4747 or schedule an appointment with an interventional oncologist today.
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