Ablation and embolization treatments are different ways of destroying tumors, rather than removing them with surgery.
Ablation or embolization can sometimes be used to help treat pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (NET) that has spread to other organs, especially the liver. When pancreatic NETs have spread to other sites, these treatments can often reduce tumor size and improve symptoms. But these treatments are very unlikely to cure cancers on their own. They are more likely to be used to help prevent or relieve symptoms, and are often used along with other types of treatment.
Ablation refers to treatments that destroy tumors, usually with extreme heat or cold. They are generally best for tumors no more than about 2 cm (a little less than an inch) across. There are different kinds of ablative treatments:
Possible side effects after ablation therapy include abdominal pain, infection, and bleeding inside the body. Serious complications are uncommon, but they are possible.
During embolization, substances are injected into an artery to try to block the blood flow to cancer cells, causing them to die. This may be used for larger tumors (up to 5cm or 2 inches across) in the liver.
There are 3 main types of embolization:
Possible complications after embolization include abdominal pain, fever, nausea, infection, and blood clots in nearby blood vessels. Serious complications are not common, but they can happen.
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Last Revised: October 30, 2018
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