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Embolization is another treatment for tumors that cannot be removed. A substance is put into the artery that carries blood to the tumor. This substance blocks the blood flow, which makes it harder for the tumor to grow and may even cause all or part of it to die.

Chemoembolization adds a chemotherapy drug to embolization. Studies are now going on to see if it works better than embolization alone.

Radioembolization combines embolization with radiation treatment. It is done by putting small radioactive beads into the artery that feeds the liver. This delivers small amounts of radiation to just the tumor sites in the liver.

Problems after embolization could include abdominal pain, fever, nausea, infection in the liver, gallbladder swelling, and blood clots in the liver. Serious complications are rare, but they can happen.

Last Medical Review: 11/19/2014
Last Revised: 02/23/2016