diagnosis and treatment of hepatocarcinoma

Thanks to its advanced imaging systems, the Clinica Universidad de Navarra offers rapid diagnosis, which is very important in these cases. Our results with liver transplantation place us among the best in the world.
The percentage of patients in whom total extirpation of the tumour is achieved is among the highest in Spain. The rate of complications is low, with levels of quality equal to that of the best hospitals in the world.
After the diagnosis, a multidisciplinary team prepares a treatment plan incorporating the most advanced technology.
In addition to standard therapeutics, we offer innovative treatments such as the application of Yttrium-90 microspheres, with excellent results even in patients with advanced disease and few treatment options.

The Clínica performs various techniques to diagnose liver tumours, including hepatocarcinoma.

The objective of chemotherapy is to destroy the tumour cells to reduce the disease, by combining a considerable variety of drugs, which makes them more effective.
The cancer cells grow and divide swiftly. Chemotherapy stops or delays their growth and shows a reduction in relapses of the disease as well as increased survival.
The frequency and duration of chemotherapy depends on the type of cancer, treatment objectives, drugs employed and the body’s response to them.
During or at the end of treatment, the oncologist will request tests to determine how the tumour responds to the chemotherapy, whether it has gone away or decreased, whether it has remained stable or whether it has continued to progress.

Radioembolisation is a novel treatment for inoperable liver tumors. [Video only available in Spanish]

Radioembolisation with Yttrium-90 microspheres is an extremely well-tolerated treatment that controls the disease in more than 80% of cases."

This is a highly selective vascular treatment limited to the liver.

It consists of injecting, through the artery and as selectively as possible, tiny plastic spheres that obstruct the small vessels. The result is that the tumour or tumours are denied a blood supply. The treatment is usually repeated every six weeks as often as necessary, typically three or four times.

Although arterial embolisation does not require an operating room or anaesthesia, hospitalisation of between two and four days is common because this time is needed to control adverse effects such as pain, nausea and fever. Although the treatment is not especially risky, it is not unusual to feel tired and experience fever for a few days after the treatment.

Embolisation is a treatment that can be used when other more effective treatments, such as surgery and radiofrequency, are not possible.

Its application offers greater survival for patients and can be curative. It should be noted that the treatment can only be applied when the liver function is very good.

Yttrium-90 radiospheres are radioactive microspheres that go directly to the liver.
This treatment is directed at liver tumours and carries millions of microscopic radioactive spheres (radio or microspheres) directly to the liver.
These microspheres contain the radioactive element Yttrium-90, which radiates to a very short distance (approximately 2.4 mm). When placed near tumour areas, the microspheres enable the surgeon to control the area of radiation, avoiding damage to the healthy areas.
Radiofrequency is a simple, safe and very well tolerated therapeutic technique.
It is based on the application of intense heat to the liver tumours, be they primary or secondary (hepatic metastases).
In order to transmit this intense heat to the tumours, needles are inserted into the liver through the skin during a procedure that does not require general anaesthesia but does use deep sedation so as to cause less discomfort. To place the needles in the tumours, the specialist is guided by ultrasonography.
Once placed, energy is applied, which generates heat for a few minutes. All tissue surrounding the needle, up to a maximum diameter of approximately 5 cm, is burned. Therefore, this treatment only works for tumours measuring 5 cm or less.
When the tumours are not visible in the ultrasound or when there are several and the procedure is extended, the technique can be conducted in an operating room, with open surgery or laparoscopy.
In general, the hospitalization time is 24 hours.
The Clinic has one of the best results in terms of survival: more than 90% of patients live past 1 year from the operation and the survival rate at 5 and 10 years is approximately 70% and 60%, respectively.
The team of surgeons and hepatologists at the Clinica Universidad de Navarra have performed over 400 liver transplantations, more than twenty of which were living-donor. The Clinic is therefore one of the expert hospital centres in Spain in adult living-donor liver transplantation.
It is the only curative treatment for severe diseases such as cirrhosis, some tumours, congenital hepatic abnormalities and metabolic disorders whose deficiency is in the liver. The treatment consists of removing the diseased liver, completely or partially, and substituting it with a healthy liver from a deceased or living donor.

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