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Kalispell Regional Medical Center

Cancer Directed Therapies

KRMC Interventional Radiology
Interventional radiology can be used to treat cancer without surgery. Interventional radiologists treat the cancerous area directly by heating or freezing it (ablation) or by restricting blood flow (embolization). Treatments to manage side effects include inserting a small expandable tube to keep an area open (stenting) and placing a flexible tube to drain excess fluids.

Tumor Embolization

Radioembolization is an outpatient procedure in which tiny radioactive beads are sent to tumors through the bloodstream. The beads stay in the tumors and release radiation to kill cancer cells, while nearby healthy tissue generally receives little radiation. This procedure is part of the treatment plan that you, your medical or surgical oncologist, and the interventional radiologist have chosen to treat the tumors in your liver.

How to Prepare
  • You will see an interventional radiologist before your radioembolization treatment is scheduled. The consult takes place in the interventional radiology clinic and provides an explanation of what to expect during the procedure.
  • You may need to have blood drawn in advance of your procedure. If you have more than one procedure, you may have blood drawn each time.
  • A nurse may call you the day before your procedure to review your medications and any last-minute instructions.
  • Do not eat anything for six hours before each procedure.
  • Bring someone to drive you home.
What to Expect
For your first procedure:
  • The procedure begins with an assessment and an IV start in the holding room before going to the interventional radiology lab.
  • The nurses may shave your groin or wrist for the interventional radiologist to access your artery.
  • In the lab, the interventional radiology staff will help you onto a narrow table, connect you to the monitoring equipment and clean the access site with an alcohol-based solution.
  • You will be lightly sedated during the procedure so you are able to work with the interventional radiologist, as he will ask you to hold your breath at different times.
  • After the procedure you will have a nuclear medicine scan and return to the holding room for recovery. The average length of recovery is four hours, and then you will be discharged.
For your second procedure:
  • The procedure begins with an assessment and an IV start in the holding room before going to the interventional radiology lab.
  • This second procedure is more frequently done through the wrist.
  • Afterward you will have another nuclear medicine scan before returning to the holding room for recovery.
After the Procedure
  • Because of the radiation you receive during this procedure, your caregiver should try to keep a distance of at least six feet for the first three days after radioembolization.
  • Also during this time, small children and pets should not sit in your lap.
  • Your nurse will review the discharge instructions with you and your caregiver.
Videos are provided only as a general reference and are not the property of Kalispell Regional Healthcare or a comprehensive overview of your specific procedure. Talk with your doctor before making any decisions about your treatment.

Ablation

Ablation is the process of heating or freezing a lesion or tumor. Cryoablation refers to the use of a pressurized gas to produce extreme cold. The gas expands and then cools, creating an ice ball chilled to minus 100 degrees Celsius. The ice ball engulfs and destroys the tumor while sparing healthy tissue. Microwave ablation uses electromagnetic waves to produce heat, which is then applied directly to the affected tissues.

How to Prepare
  • You usually will meet with the radiologist in the interventional radiology clinic before the procedure.
  • You may need to have blood drawn in advance of your procedure. If you have more than one procedure, you may have blood drawn each time.
  • A nurse may call you the day before your procedure to review your medications and any last-minute instructions.
  • In preparation for your procedure, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • Bring someone to drive you home.
What to Expect
  • The procedure usually begins with an assessment and an IV start in the holding room before going to the interventional radiology lab.
  • You will receive medication to help you relax during the procedure.
After the Procedure
  • You will receive specific discharge instructions from the interventional radiology nurse and holding room staff.
Videos are provided only as a general reference and are not the property of Kalispell Regional Healthcare or a comprehensive overview of your specific procedure. Talk with your doctor before making any decisions about your treatment.

Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization

Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is an embolization procedure that you, your surgical oncologist and the interventional radiologist may have chosen as a treatment option for liver tumors. It is a minimally invasive treatment that introduces high-dose chemotherapy directly into the liver. The blood supply to the tumor is blocked, starving the tumor of oxygen and nutrients while the chemotherapy works to destroy the cancerous tissue.

How to Prepare
  • You will see an interventional radiologist before your TACE procedure is scheduled.
  • You may need to have blood drawn in advance of your procedure.
  • A nurse may call you the day before your procedure to review your medications and any last-minute instructions.
  • In preparation for your procedure, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
What to Expect
  • The procedure usually begins with an assessment and an IV start in the holding room before going to the interventional radiology lab.
  • The interventional radiologist will try to access the arterial system through the wrist or radial site.
  • During the first part of the procedure, you will be lightly sedated as the interventional radiologist will ask you to hold your breath frequently.
  • Patients often experience discomfort when the chemotherapy is injected directly into the liver system. For this reason, you may be admitted overnight to help manage pain and nausea symptoms.
After the Procedure
  • You will receive specific discharge instructions from the interventional radiology staff.

Obstructed Organ Intervention

Cancerous growths may sometimes obstruct the normal flow of the vascular system, lymph system or other drainage systems. Interventions include stenting and drainage. Treatment of an obstructed biliary system is one of the most common interventions.

How to Prepare
  • You may need to have blood drawn in advance of your procedure. If you have more than one procedure, you may have blood drawn each time.
  • A nurse may call you the day before your procedure to review your medications and any last-minute instructions.
  • In preparation for your procedure, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • Bring someone to drive you home.
What to Expect
  • The procedure begins with an assessment and an IV start in the holding room before going to the interventional radiology lab.
  • Your recovery time will vary based on the complexity and length of the procedure.
After the Procedure
  • You will receive specific discharge instructions from the interventional radiology staff.
Videos are provided only as a general reference and are not the property of Kalispell Regional Healthcare or a comprehensive overview of your specific procedure. Talk with your doctor before making any decisions about your treatment.