Liver is the laboratory of the body. Since all blood flows through the liver, it is one of the most common localizations of malignant tumors metastases. The cells of the neoplasm get into the blood flow and settle in the liver. Then they give rise to secondary tumors. Colorectal cancer, breast and skin cancers are the most common types of cancer that metastasize into the liver. 50% of cases of colorectal cancer result in liver metastases, while in melanoma the number of such cases accounts for 30%. But even with metastatic cancer, doctors can take measures to prolong patient’s life.
Diagnosis of metastases in the liver
The detection of metastases in the liver requires a thorough diagnosis before starting treatment. The diagnosis aims to:
- Detect metastases in the liver
- Estimate the number of metastases
- Determine their size.
- Evaluate the localization of metastases, their location relative to the blood vessels of the liver
- Determine the nature of their growth
- Detect the signs of breakdown, suppuration or intergrowth in to the adjacent tissues
The cancer metastases in the liver should be diagnosed only in the well-equipped clinic with the participation of experienced and highly-qualified specialists. Therefore, Germany is the best place to undergo diagnosis.
The most advanced imaging techniques are used here, including:
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Multispiral computed tomography
- Positron emission tomography
- Angiography (contrast-enhanced X-ray)
Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is used to determine type of tumor cells and the degree of their maturity. With the use of a special needle, doctors obtain a fragment of the tumor from the liver and examine it.
The obtained data allow to:
- Assess the feasibility and potential effectiveness of various treatments
- Determine the prognosis of the patient survival
- Plan a surgical procedure or other methods of treatment
Methods of treatment in Germany
The selection of treatments depends on a variety of factors. These primarily include the amount, size and location of metastases.The type of cancer should also be taken into account. Depending on what kind of tissue the tumor consists of, it can have different sensitivity to radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy.
Here are some of the treatments used in German clinics:
- Chemoembolization. It is the most advanced technique, which does not use surgical treatment but allows increaseof life expectancy by 2 years in 30% of patients. Cytostatics and microemboli are administered into the hepatic artery and their effect on the tumor lasts on average 30 days.
- Cryosurgery. It can be used only if the size of metastases is up to 5 cm.The tumor is cooled with liquid nitrogen and it eventually dies. This technique shows the three-year survival rate in about 20% of patients.
- Laser therapy. The therapy uses MRI-guided needle placement into the tumor. The laser heats the tumor tissues and it eventually dies. Laser therapy should be carried out if the liver has up to 5 metastases and their size does not exceed 5 cm. It is used in stead of surgical treatment, if the surgery is contraindicated or if metastases re-emerge after surgical treatment.
- Radiofrequency therapy. The therapy involves ultrasound-guided introduction of electrodes into the metastases. Then doctors apply high power and high frequency current to them and eventually tumor tissues heat up and die. The method is effective if the size of neoplasms does not exceed 4 cm.
- Alcoholization of metastases. This technique uses ultrasound-guided insertion of a fine needle that aims toinject ethyl alcohol into the tumor tissues. It destroys the tumor. The method shows five-year survival rate in 30% of patients. The results are comparable to surgical treatment.
- Brachytherapy. Germany offers contact radiation therapy or brachytherapy involving the introduction of radioactive substance into the tumor. It is injected through several thin catheters that are placed in the liver. The benefits of the technique: minimal damage to healthy tissues.
- Selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT). Selective internal radiation therapy is another effective way to destroy metastases, practically without affecting healthy tissues. The substance that accumulates in the cells of the tumor is injected in the hepatic artery. These are radioactive spherical spheres. The radiation leads to the destruction of metastases.
- Targeted therapy. The use of some drugs from the group of inhibitors of angiogenesis can slowthe growth of metastases in the liver. They block the growth of new vessels feeding the tumor. Targeted therapy is usually combined with either surgical treatment or chemoembolization.
Arrangement of the treatment of liver cancer metastases in Germany
Those patients with metastases in the liver who receive quality treatment in the best German clinics have a longer life expectancy. Booking Health can arrange your trip for treatment. We are experts in the field of medical tourism.
The use of our services will ensure:
- Selection of the best clinic for the treatment of metastatic cancer and booking of the diagnostic and treatment program at the best price.
- Service package: assistance in obtaining a visa, booking a hotel located as close to the clinic as possible, as well as booking of airline tickets, translation of documents, interpreter services during your communication with the medical staff of the healthcare facility.
- Saving up to 70% of the total costs of treatment and its arrangement.
- Insurance covering unforeseen medical expenses for up to 200, 000 euros.
- Doctor’s follow up consultation within 3 months after treatment program completionat no extra charge
To use the Booking Health services, please leave a request on the website. We will call you as soon as possible.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova