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Tumour embolization, sometimes called transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), is a procedure to shrink a liver tumour by cutting off its blood supply. The doctor put a thin, flexible tube, called a catheter, into an artery in your groin or in your arm. The catheter was guided into the liver artery (the hepatic artery) that supplies blood to the tumour. The doctor sent small particles (like grains of sand) through the catheter into the hepatic artery. This mixture blocked the artery and will stop blood from getting to the liver tumour. Procedures also commonly done in Alberta include chemoembolization and radioembolization.
You may go home the same day. Or you might need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer. The area where the catheter was put through your skin into your artery (the puncture site) may be sore for a day or two after the procedure. You will probably have a bruise for at least a week.
You may feel like you have influenza (flu) and may feel tired and have a low fever and an upset stomach. You may not feel as hungry as you usually do. These symptoms are called post-embolization syndrome (PES), and they're common side effects of the procedure. These symptoms usually get better in 1 to 2 weeks.
It may take a month or more to fully get your energy back.
You will have tests in the months after the procedure to check the liver tumour and see how well the treatment worked.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
For more information on embolization for liver cancer, watch this My Health Alberta video: Cirrhosis - Embolization for liver cancer For more information on liver cancer, go to www.CirrhosisCare.ca
Adaptation Date: 5/25/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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