TACE for Liver Tumor from Hepatitis and Cirrhosis

TACE for Liver Tumor from Hepatitis and Cirrhosis  

Taser liver cancer tace ihelpc
Hello Tumor – You’re going down!

Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization is a mouthful! I like the nickname TACE. When I first began hearing about this particular way that a liver tumor could be treated, I thought of a taser. You know, like that gun the police chase unruly people with? I kind of like that image. My liver cells are getting out of control. It is time to shut them down! Seriously though, I learned quite a bit about the procedure and cannot wait to share it with you. You better believe there will be another blog about TACE for Liver Tumor from Hepatitis and Cirrhosis after my procedure. It is next Tuesday. Consider this Part 1.

Who performs TACE Procedures? The TACE procedure is done by an Intervention Radiologist, also known as IR. Since I had never heard of an IR before, Dr. Stephen Lee, my doctor at Integris broke it down for me. Intervention Radiologists are responsible for much of the work done to help shrink and kill cancerous tumors. He told me about Dr. Cesare Gianturco from Italy who was a super star in the field of cancer research. He was the father of the stints and his work is what led to the cathether procedure that is used in TACE. Which leads us to..

How are Tace Procedures done? The IR doc inserts a tiny catheter into the femoral artery at the top of your leg. They wind it through toward the Hepatic Artery. From there, they use X-Ray tech stuff called Angiography to follow the artery that is closest to the tumor. After they pinpoint the tumor, they may try to run more tiny catheters to the “branches” until they are right up on it. I picture a weak tumor surrounded by all these chemo cops and their TACE sticks.

What drugs are used in TACE procedures? After getting the tumor surrounded with one or more catheters, they start injecting what are called LC beads. These teeny tiny particles are soaked in chemotherapy drugs called Doxorubicin or Irinotecan. What these microspheres do is release the drug slowly over a several day time period. Tumor killing stuff! Dr. Lee had a little hourglass filled with them and I took a pic for you. BTW – the IR is the doctor who injects the beads. An oncologist is the one who prescribes the chemotherapy beads.

TACE beads ihelpc.com hcc liver cancer
These little beads can do a big big job!

What happens to the tumor after TACE? Here is where it gets good. The drugs in the LC Beads cut off the blood supply that is coming from the hepatic artery. The tumor is sitting there on/in our liver just feeding off of our blood and nutrients. Argh. The chemotherapy in the beads first hit the tumor cells. Then they shut off the food supply. Stun and starve the sucker! This process usually will knock a tumor dead in its tracks.

My Intervention Radiologist, Dr. Stephen Lee at Integris totally rocks. He’s also a history buff and great teacher. He has a keen interest in all things TACE related and has done it for about 3 decades. He broke it down by telling me a story.

The high rate of the Hepatitis B Virus or HBV in the 1960’s started a shift in the methods of treatment for Hepatocellular Carcinoma or HCC. Up to that time, the only thing available was full blown chemotherapy. We all know that it is hard on the entire body. It was also NOT working well on liver tumors.

During the 1970’s and 80’s doctors tried choking off the blood supply to the rest of the body so they could target the tumor. They eventually found a recipe that combined both of the above. It took 15 years of research, but doctors were finally able to target the liver tumor and keep the chemo out of the rest of our body.

TACE is used for many different reasons. Sometimes the HCC is advanced. If the tumor is really large, this procedure can help to shrink it down to size. If it is not gone after one TACE, they will do a second one to make sure they get it all. This can help us in many ways. For example, I am hoping for a transplant. By shrinking or killing the tumor I have a better chance of staying alive til a donor organ becomes available.

tace liver hcc ihelpc.com cancer
Grazie Dr. Gianturco for the catheter.

Many times the tumor will swell and grow until the liver just flat gives out. Decompensation sets in as our other organs cannot carry the burden. Jaundice, ascites, Hepatic Encephalopathy, and increased varices are all signs that the tumor is taking over. I have had those symptoms before and live with some of them now. I will have NONE of that in my body. Not without a fight. Nods and snaps to Kimberly Morgan Bossley.  I love her attitude and absolutely trust that the tumor is going down with TACE. 

I feel a little sheepish about it sharing my visualization with you guys. But you know what? I have a cancerous tumor and will use medicine, mental imagery, nutrition, prayer, and whatever else that could work! If you find me on a mountain top dancing like crazy at midnight wearing a rosary with a sweet potatoe taped to my rib cage, and singing Jesus Loves Me – just know that your Best Friend is fighting a battle in her own way! lol

Visualizing Healing – I start by lying down and listening to some brain frequency music. I try to take a long bath first. Something about that just feels pure and right. Earphones are the best way to help you to tune out distractions. You might have a favorite classical or Indian flute music that you enjoy. I used to listen to nature sounds. But it seemed like when I got relaxed, some thunderclap would jolt me! The music I listen to is calm enough that I can feel every muscle turn to jelly!

With my eyes closed and my body totally relaxed, I imagine myself on a ride at Disney World. It is dark and there are areas of light flashing around me. The ride? It is the inside of my body. I see a glow and move quickly toward it. It’s a yellowish gray green tumor rising up and growing. I watch my blood’s T Killer Cells shooting good cancer fighting foods at it. Then the chemo beads start zapping it. I see my White Blood Cells as ancient and mighty warriors. They carry blunt weapons, bows and arrows, smart missiles and laser technology. Everything is at their disposal and they have the wisdom to target the tumor.

liver cancer hcc tace ihelpc.com
TACE that sucker!

The tumor grows weak and confused. It gets limp, appearing to lose energy. The T Cells are huge and strong. They know exactly what to do and rely on me to supply them with good food. The nutrients are fierce in their ability to zap the cancer cells. The LC Beads keep a steady pulse of chemo streaming right on the tumor. It’s almost like a video game watching the different weapons being used.

I zoom off to another part of my body, checking on the kidney, going through my heart to watch it beat in a steady rhythm. Outwardly, I am breathing in slow breaths and exhaling fully. Inwardly I go look at my spleen and guide myself to send encouraging thoughts. It has taken a beating. I hold my hand on it and smile, sending calm thoughts to my body.

Finally, I go back by the liver. That hard working organ that keeps us all alive even with HCV, Cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Pushing anxiety away, I see my liver for what it is: A hard shriveled up organ that is still working in spite of that tumor and End Stage Cirrhosis. It is counting on me once again to make wise choices. I listen to my doctors, use good diet and nutrition, and keep my mind at rest. I will be brave through the TACE procedure and anything else that comes my way.

It has been a month since they found the tumor. With the Pre-transplant work up last week, and then meeting my oncologist and Interventional Radiologist time has flown! I am ready to start killing that tumor!

tace liver cancer ihelpc.com cure
I am heading to a quiet place to pray, visualize, and heal.

In the meantime, I will dream on of shrunken tumors and rest in the hands of my medical team. TACE for Liver Tumor from Hepatitis and Cirrhosis  is a proactive stance for me right now! 

A big hug to all  of you. Your messages and support about your experiences and/or fears about TACE have helped so much. I may not answer email so fast right now, but I love hearing from you always always. Your best friend in the middle of every battle, xoxo Karen:)

Do you visualize your body working hard to kill the Hepatitis C virus or Liver Cancer? Give it a try. You might be surprised at the peace it can bring.
Peace ushers in hope. You can create a healing environment for your body!

Check out the youtube on TACE procedure here!

You can find supportive and loving words on all things Hepatitis C by clicking Here

images via cxvascular.com, xmarksthescot.com, technology-africa.com , chronicscarecrow.deviantart.com

About Karen Hoyt

Karen Hoyt offers a no nonsense approach to living with Cirrhosis. A Hepatitis C treatment survivor, she created a liver loving diet and lifestyle that allows her to create awareness and advocate for her Best Friends at http://www.ihelpc.com

20 thoughts on “TACE for Liver Tumor from Hepatitis and Cirrhosis

  1. Karen I read this information and feel within me that you will beat this. I had a friend of mine go thru this in Florida but never understood everything she went thru, however your explanation and detail if very thorough. I would love for you to write a book of your journey…there are many who would benefit from your knowledge and experience. You are in my prayers and listen to your body…while you are talking to it, make sure you listen too. After my first transplant when I had the Arterial hepatic thrombosis (blood clot) my body was sending me messages like dreaming my veins looked like spider webs with knots in them…this was my body telling me I had the blood clot. You are so right to be in tune with your body, and always communicate this concern to your team of physicians…Love you dear, and may you have many blessings come your way with healing prayers being sent!

    1. Emma dear,

      I read your comment while I was waiting for my procedure. I remember dreaming while I was coming off Versaid about my artery being open. I love your story about listening to your body. To be honest with you, a transplant sounds so darn scary! And then I read your post and you sound… don’t laugh.. you sound so normal! Life can go on after cancer, and after a TACE procedure, and after a transplant.
      It is always so encouraging to hear words from someone who has been there. With my down time I’ve been doing just that – outlining a book. It will be good for me to work through all the information and I sure want to THANK YOU for confirming that I’m heading in the right direction. xoxo I am being more disciplined about staying with the word document and keeping focused. You are an angel friend and I love you too,
      xoxoxo Karen:)

      1. My heart is warmed and a smile crosses my face as I read your remarks. I am so happy that you are following your heart.

        Prayers for continued healing.

        Emma

        1. Emma,

          I am grateful for warm hearts, smiles and the prayers from a dear friend.

          It’s a strange circumstance to be in. But I’m learning so much about loving and living to the fullest. That’s what it’s about sister friend,
          xo Karen:)

  2. I will have TACE done for one 3cm cancer spot on my liver. I pray it stops or kills it. Hep C Cirrhosis present.
    MElD score extremely low..

    1. A 3cm race means that your MELD score should go up pretty high. My MELD was 6 or 7 before the tumor was found. Then it went up over 20 just because of the tumor. You get bonus points for cancer. Crazy, huh?

      Let me know how it went for you. Will they let you treat for HCV with a tumor? One of our best friends had to wait until after the transplant and he’s clear now!

      Sending love, hugs, and prayers.. Karen

    1. Elias,

      You just got my first smile of the day award! Ok. A little teary eyed sniffle too. I hope you’re doing well and I’m shining a ray of love on YOU right now.
      xo Karen:)

    1. All it takes is a oncologist to prescribe the treatment, and intervention radiologist to perform it. It can be done at most hospitals. You may need a tumor board and/or a hematologist or transplant team to review the tumor. Then they can decide which option is best for your tumor. I hope it all goes well and you get the treatment you need!
      xo Karen:)

  3. Karen:

    I find your blog extremely inspiring. My husband has the same conditions you do and he is currently on his first TACE. Unfortunately his tumor is huge and resisting. The therapy is really kicking his butt right now. I am trying my best to give him good nutrition. Everything organic, low sugar but he still feels like crap. Do you have any suggestions regarding diet or anything else I can try to do to make him feel better? I know you are not a doctor but who better to ask the someone going thru the same thing. Also, will you have to repeat the procedure? Thank you so much Ms. Karen and I hope you and my husband get well soon!!!!!!! -Sonia =)

    1. Oh Sonia I am so sorry to hear how bad your husband is feeling. I am just Dee a friend of Karen’s helping/filling in while she gets better from her transplant. I don’t know what he is feeling so hard for me to recommend. Is he experiencing pain? Perhaps they could prescribe pain medication. Is he having trouble sleeping? Perhaps a sleeping pill or when I was treating my HCV I was given Promethazine, it is a prescription antihistamine which helped me sleep, as did melatonin which is an over the counter supplement. I was very anxious as well so was given a small dose of Xanax. Is he drinking enough water? Lack of water can cause unbelievable side effects, you could do a search for dehydration to see. Also how about his electrolytes? During treatment I had to make sure I had a banana a day, my sister in law almost died from lack of potassium. I also took calcium and magnesium for cramps. I hope some of this helps a little. Hang in there, Dee

  4. Hello Karen,

    I want to wish you well on your transplant. I am in the same situation and have been googling for info on others who have courageously fought this fight before me.
    Had Y90 then Tace about 4 months ago. First MRI showed tumor gone. Next MRI is on 10/14. I am advised to seek a transplant as they predict it will be back.
    And yes the TACE procedure was a bear afterwards. I felt the pain.
    This is quite a journey.

    Mia

    1. Hi there, this is quite a journey, I am not sure how Karen did it all, between the HCV, liver failure, cancer then transplant. She is my hero. Hang in there, please let us know how your test is. Have you been listed for a transplant? I hope so. Depending on where you live it can take a while to get one or you can get one very quickly, good luck, keep in touch, Dee

  5. I just found your posts today … my husband just went through his first TACE Procedure about 3 weeks ago. Waiting another few weeks for another MRI to see how the procedure worked. It’s been an exhausting and scary “journey” for us since he was diagnosed. Any tips on healthy eating and other wellness things that we can do on our own to try to beat this evil HCC Liver Cancer? ALL HELP (AND PRAYERS) ARE APPRECIATED. Thanks & God Bless!

    1. Oh…dear one, I am sorry to hear this. I hope he is doing okay. As you can see Karen had the TACE to keep her going until she could have her transplant.
      She has a drop down box called Liver Loving Recipes and you could try eliminating red meat, fried food, up the water as much as you can, drop the processed foods. Get enough protein. Karen drinks protein shakes every day with fruits and veggies. When she was first diagnosed with HCV cirrhosis, she only ate Oatmeal until she could figure out what was wrong with her. She was not diagnosed for 30 years, had no clue she had it until she started retaining water so much none of her clothes would fit.
      I hope all goes well. Dee

  6. My husband had treated with tase, but after treatment,he had suffered with bad hiccups , he is really in a big trouble now

    1. Did the hiccups cause additional pain? It is not easy to fix this problem if it lasts a long time. The doctor may have a suggestion. I always try deep breathing. Take a long slow inhale while counting to 10. Hold the breath for as long as possible. Slowly exhale. Breath through the nose with mouth closed. This is the best cure I know of.

      This technique can also help him to relax in case he is tense and tired from all the stress of liver cancer and Tace treatment. I am sending love and prayers and hope that deep breathing can help him a lot!

      xo Karen

  7. My Father had TACE twice but unfortunately he didnt survive…Now another family member is sick…the doctor wants to open and see the condition of the liver to determine if he needs SIRT or TACE…is it safe to open and close then do these procedures???

    1. I apologize for the late response. First, I am so sorry to hear about your father. My dad died from liver disease, and I know it was painful for me and I miss him a lot. As far as the other family member, I have never heard of this and hope that you were able to get a second opinion…
      xo Karen

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