Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

24Apr/06Off

Research

Ok so just a quick note about liver cancer.

You get it by having cirrhosis. This means
A) being a chronic alcoholic
B) getting Hepatitis B or C
C) being really unlucky. For the most part though, it's the IV drug use or the booze that gets you.

This poses some serious problems for treatment: normally you give someone with cancer chemotherapy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Thing is, chemo gets broken down by the liver. Someone who's been drinking a case of beer a day doesn't really have a liver to speak of, and whats left of it is already working overtime. Throw a ton of massively toxic drugs in the system and you've got a very good chance of putting someone into liver failure and killing them.

So, you've got to figure out some other way of treating these people. This is where the interventional radiologists come into play. They do all sorts of cool things- radiofrequency ablation (inserting a needle into the tumor and cooking it from the inside out), chemoembolization (cutting off the blood supply and putting drugs directly in the tumor), ethanol embolization (putting 95% alcohol in the bloodstream right near the tumor... alcohol is bad for cells), etc.

Turns out we don't really know the best method. There has been a lot of research done on it, but there is a bunch more to be done... and that's what I'll be doing this summer! Cool!

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  1. sweet….so maybe you’ll be able to help my dad……..


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