Liver disease (also called hepatic disease) is a broad term describing any single number of diseases affecting the liver. The correct treatment of liver cancer can mean the difference between life and death. Not all patients with cancers in the liver are potentially curable. But some are. Many liver cancer patients are diagnosed late and frequently treated only with chemotherapy. If chemotherapy treatments are in your future, study this link about Chemo side effects.
Physicians at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center are performing a new treatment for inoperable liver cancer known as Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT). SIRT is a non-surgical outpatient therapy that uses microscopic radioactive spheres, called SIR-Spheres®, to deliver radiation directly to the site of the liver tumors.
Each liver disease will have its own specific treatment regimen. For example, hepatitis A requires supportive care to maintain hydration while the body’s immune system fights and resolves the infection. Patients with gallstones may require surgery to remove the gallbladder. Other diseases may need long-term medical care to control and minimize the consequences of their disease
In patients with cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease, medications may be required to control the amount of protein absorbed in the diet. The liver affected by cirrhosis may not be able to metabolize the waste products, resulting in elevated blood ammonia levels and hepatic encephalopathy. Low sodium diet and water pills (diuretics) may be required to minimize water retention.
In those with large amounts of ascites fluid, the excess fluid may have to be occasionally removed with a needle and syringe (paracentesis). Using local anesthetic, a needle is inserted through the abdominal wall and the fluid withdrawn.
Operations may be required to treat portal hypertension and minimize the risk of bleeding. Liver transplation is the final option for patients whose liver has failed.