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Liver Cancer Chemotherapy

Side Effects Associated With Liver Cancer Chemotherapy

The side effects of chemotherapy for liver cancer depend mainly on the drugs and the doses the patient receives. As with other types of liver cancer treatment, side effects are different for each patient -- they can even differ from one treatment session to the next.
Liver cancer chemotherapy affects rapidly dividing cells throughout the body, including blood cells. Blood cells fight infection, help the blood to clot, and carry oxygen to all parts of the body. When anticancer drugs damage blood cells, patients are more likely to get infections, may bruise or bleed easily, and may have less energy.
Cells in hair roots and cells that line the digestive tract also divide rapidly. As a result, patients may lose their hair and may experience other side effects, such as poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, or mouth sores.
Usually, these side effects go away gradually during the recovery periods between treatments or after treatment is complete. Your healthcare team can suggest ways to relieve side effects.

Chemoembolization and Hepatic Arterial Infusion

Chemoembolization and hepatic arterial infusion cause fewer side effects than other types of chemotherapy for liver cancer because the drugs do not flow through the entire body.
Chemoembolization sometimes causes nausea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. The doctor can give medications to help lessen these problems. Some patients may feel very tired for several weeks after the treatment.
Side effects associated with hepatic arterial infusion may include infection and problems with the pump device. Sometimes, the device may have to be removed.
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