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Liver Cancer Chemotherapy  

Cancer is a disease which can affect many different organs and parts of the human body.  It can occur when otherwise normal cells suddenly begin to act in an abnormal fashion and grow uncontrollably.  If left untreated, the growing mass of abnormal tissue can disrupt the normal functions of the organ it originates in and create many issues for the patient, some of which can be life threatening.  Unfortunately cancer can strike the liver and affect its ability to function normally.  Once a positive diagnosis has been made there are a number of treatments which may be used to combat this disease and eliminate the threat.  One such treatment option is called liver cancer chemotherapy. 

It should be explained that chemotherapy is a type of treatment in which specialized drugs or medications are used to destroy cancer cells.  If systemic or whole body chemotherapy is used, these drugs get into the body either orally or through an injection.  They enter the bloodstream and eventually reach virtually all areas of the body.  If the active compounds in these drugs encounter cells which show abnormal growth, they will react with these cells and eventually kill them. 

As it turns out liver cancer is not very conducive to this type of therapy.  The cancer within the liver reacts very little to the popular anti-cancer drugs.  Therefore it is not very effective at stopping the growth of cancer and especially curing the disease. 

Doctors and researchers have tried different ways to get the drugs to the cancer site but they have found that the liver is designed to break down chemical compounds which are what it does very effectively to these anti-cancer drugs.  This makes them pretty ineffective and not viable as a primary treatment. 

However for some kinds of drugs used for liver cancer chemotherapy, they can be helpful in killing remaining cancer cells following surgical removal of the cancerous tissue.  And in some cases they can be of benefit in shrinking tumors prior to surgical removal.  This can make the removal easier and more effective. 

It is important to note that a major complication with receiving liver cancer chemotherapy is the expected side effects.  These drugs react to rapidly growing cells which are fairly unique to cancer cells.  However there are still some normal cells like hair cells and stomach lining cells which also grow and duplicate very quickly.  So the drugs used in a chemotherapy treatment may mistakenly attack healthy cells instead of just the cancerous cells. 

This results in a number of side effects including falling hair, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue and sluggishness.  Once the treatment stops, these side effects tend to dissipate. 

In general chemotherapy treatment is based on receiving multiple doses over a period of time.  This helps the body to heal from the side effects from this type of treatment and helps to provide for maximum dosage to the cancer tissues. 

Since liver cancer also tends to spread to other organs before diagnosis, chemotherapy can be effective in treating cancer cells which may be spread throughout the body.  But the major goal here is in managing the symptoms and helping to slow the rate of the disease.  It most likely is unable to cure the disease at this point but more likely help to extend the life of the patient and provide him/her with the best quality of life.