- How is liver cancer treated?
- Surgery for liver cancer
- Tumor ablation for liver cancer
- Embolization therapy for liver cancer
- Radiation treatment for liver cancer
- Targeted therapy for liver cancer
- Chemotherapy for liver cancer
- Clinical trials for liver cancer
- Complementary and alternative therapies for liver cancer
Radiation treatment for liver cancer
Radiation therapy is treatment that uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. External beam radiation aims radiation from outside the body to the cancer. Liver cancer cells can be killed by radiation, but this treatment can't be used at very high doses because normal liver tissue is killed, too. This type of radiation may be used to shrink a liver tumor or to give relief from symptoms like pain, but it is not used as often as other local treatments such as ablation or embolization.
Before your treatments start, the radiation team will take careful measurements to figure out the correct angles for aiming the radiation beams and the proper dose of radiation. Having the treatment is painless. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time – getting you into place for treatment – usually takes longer. Most often, radiation treatments are given 5 days a week for several weeks.
Newer radiation approaches help doctors better target liver tumors while reducing the radiation to nearby healthy tissues.
Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) is a type of external beam radiation treatment. It uses computers to map the exact location of a tumor. Radiation beams are then shaped and aimed at the tumor from different angles. This lowers the damage to normal tissue and allows higher doses to be used.
Instead of giving small doses of radiation each day for several weeks, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) uses very focused beams of high-dose radiation given on one or more days. Many beams are aimed at the tumor from different angles.
Possible side effects of radiation treatment
Side effects of radiation treatment might include sunburn-like skin problems at the place where the radiation enters the body, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Often these go away after treatment is finished. Radiation might also make chemo side effects worse.
Last Medical Review: 07/19/2012
Last Revised: 01/23/2013