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Cancer Health Center

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The Effects of Radioembolization

In several small studies, radioembolization delayed progression of colorectal cancer after its spread to the liver. Radioembolization also has been shown to shrink hepatocellular carcinomas.

So far, however, evidence is scant that people who get radioembolization and chemotherapy for cancer in the liver live longer or feel any better than people receiving chemotherapy only. Larger clinical trials are underway that should help answer questions about radioembolization’s benefits.

Many people experience symptoms of fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, fever, and loss of appetite after radioembolization. These effects are usually mild or moderate, and most people leave the hospital within a day or two after the procedure.

Radioembolization has a low rate of serious side effects. However, a small percentage of people have serious problems after radioembolization. Potential complications of radioembolization include:

  • Severe ulcers in the stomach or small intestine
  • Liver or gallbladder failure
  • Dangerously low white blood cell count
  • Radiation damage to the lungs

Tests performed before radioembolization can reduce some of the risks of complications from the procedure.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on April 29, 2015
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