how ablation therapy can treat liver cancer pain

Liver cancer pain is one of the most common symptoms of liver cancer and can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life. Liver cancer patients may experience pain from the tumor in the liver or from other areas of the body where the cancer could have spread. After a patient is diagnosed with liver cancer and is experiencing pain, treatment options that are capable of relieving the pain include ablation and other minimally invasive image-guided therapies.

Sources of Liver Cancer Pain

When it does occur, pain from liver cancer is most commonly felt in the top right abdominal area under the rib cage. This pain may radiate towards the back or be felt in the chest as well. The pain may be accompanied by swelling in the abdomen, legs, and ankles.

Pain resulting from liver cancer may arise from various sources, such as:

  • The primary tumor itself or, less likely, other areas in the body where the cancer may have metastasized.
  • Capsule stretching. Stretching of the capsule around the liver is the most common cause of pain and discomfort because the nerve receptors are located near the capsule of the liver. Such stretching is typically caused by the tumor directly.
  • Referred pain. Discomfort may also come from referred pain, which is caused by the enlarged liver placing pressure on nerves below the diaphragm, which connect or refer to the pain to the right shoulder.
  • Treatment. A patient’s treatment may also cause pain as the tumor dies or shrinks. Various medications may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea. Finally, any surgical intervention may be responsible for postoperative pain.
  • Underlying causes. One of the main underlying causes of liver cancer, such as cirrhosis, may also cause discomfort in the area of the liver.

Ablation Therapy to Treat Liver Cancer Pain

Ablation Therapy is a minimally invasive treatment option used to destroy tumors by applying thermal energy in the form of extreme heat or cold directly to the tumor.  This procedure is generally performed under ultrasound, MRI, or computed tomography (CT) guidance whereby a needle is inserted through the skin under direct visualization to burn or freeze the tumor.

Treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, typically require repeated treatments over long periods of time and can, therefore, cause significant side effects in the form of nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and hair loss. However, minimally invasive treatments, such as ablation, are performed under image guidance, guaranteeing extremely precise treatment directly to the liver tumor, thereby minimizing side effects.

Other benefits of ablation therapy include:

  • Destruction of small tumors (usually less than 3 cm in size) without the need for surgery
  • The extremely high technical success rate
  • No hospital stay is required which means these procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis
  • Can be used in combination with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or other drug therapies

One of the most important benefits of ablation therapy is its ability to kill the tumor and relieve the pain at the same time.

Interventional Treatments for Liver Cancer in New York

Pain is a common side effect of liver cancer, so it is important to speak with your doctor about the treatment options that are available to relieve your pain. At USA Oncology Centers, our goal is to provide liver cancer treatment options in NY that relieve painful symptoms, maximize your chance of survival, and improve your quality of life. No matter your situation, we work with you to establish the best approach for treatment, considering everything from your stage of liver cancer to your unique symptoms and personal preferences.

Our world-expert doctors have tremendous experience in providing treatments for both primary and secondary liver cancer. These minimally invasive treatments  include the following:

At USA Oncology Centers, our patients always come first. To learn more about our outpatient treatment options, call us at 855.870.4747 or schedule an appointment with an interventional oncologist today.

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