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My dad has stage 1 liver cancer - is chemoembolization best option?

KCC
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi everyone,

I am new to this discussion board... My dad was just diagnosed with liver cancer. They say it's considered stage 1 cus it's small (1.5cm) and only one tumor. He's had hep B since God knows when and pretty advanced cirrhosis but pretty good liver function.

He had chemoembolization at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital about a week ago. I thought because his cancer is small you just cut/burn/freeze/laser/whatever-have-you it off and that's it... But I'm reading stuff on this forum and it seems that chemoembolization is just a treatment to make patients comfortable if the cancer is inoperable??? Why would my dad's small single tumor be inoperable? Because he has cirrhosis?

What are the chances this chemoembo treatment will rid of the cancer completely? I am so scared for him. My dad and I were estranged when I was twelve and we've just gotten back in touch with each other... He's had such a hard life and now that I want him to enjoy his life with his children and his first grandchild (I am 3 month pregnant) this happens... He is 65 and other than liver issues in fairly good health.

Anyone in similar situation please share your stories. Thank you so much.

LeeandShirley's picture
LeeandShirley
Posts: 122
Joined: Apr 2011

Dear KCC
I do think that the doctors are trying to take the most cautious plan of action with your father. Surgery on a patient with cirrhosis, is very risky with complications from bleeding, since the liver tissue is already in a very delicate state. If you have questions and do not feel the doctors have fully answered them, ask again. If then you still have questions, the best thing is to get a second opinion. Your father's doctor can even set up an appointment with another well qualified liver specialist and make the process very easy. I pray that all goes well with you and your father and his first grandchild. Congratulations.

miamiguy's picture
miamiguy
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2011

The three main treatment options for liver cancer are transplantation, resection and interventional radiology. Every patient's case is unique; therefore the best treatment for one may not be the best for another. Your doctor should be able to explain why a particular treatment is best for your father. I am keeping a journal of my treatment that may help explain some of this. www.vahepclivercancer.org

tigerjack
Posts: 18
Joined: Mar 2011

I can't say what's best for your dad, but I had chemo-embolization and it was very effective in reducing a much larger tumor to imperceptible. No, it's not just palliative. It's an effective treatment. I was pretty sick for a week afterwards and still not 100% for a while after that, but in a month I was feeling pretty well. It's been a few months now and I'm fine.

Again I can't speak for your father, but my tumor was right at the hepatic artery which would have made surgery very messy and risky, but it also made it very accessible to treatment by chemo-embolization.

My CT scan 4 months later shows pretty clean, but there is certainly in my case, and probably in your dad's, some lingering cancer cells that will make trouble down the road. Don't worry about that. As long as he is under treatment and getting regular scans there's every good reason to be optimistic. We learn to live with our cancer and some of us are lucky to live a long time. I don't see why your father couldn't be around to play with his grandchild(ren).

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