Liver Cancer Overview

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Treating Liver Cancer TOPICS

Tumor ablation for liver cancer

Ablation is treatment that destroys the tumor without removing it. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Heating with radio waves
  • Injecting the tumor with alcohol (ethanol)
  • Heating with microwaves
  • Freezing (cryosurgery)

These treatments are most often used for patients with only a few small tumors that cannot be taken out with surgery. They are also sometimes used to treat liver cancer patients waiting for a liver transplant. These methods are not as likely to cure the cancer as surgery, but they can still be very helpful for some people.

Possible side effects after ablation treatment include belly pain, infection in the liver, and bleeding in the chest or abdomen. Serious complications are rare.

Last Medical Review: 11/19/2014
Last Revised: 01/15/2016