4 Oct 2012

Liver treatment easier than chemotherapy - surgeon

10:22 pm on 4 October 2012

A prominent surgeon says a little-known treatment for liver cancer is easier for patients than regular chemotherapy and they should be aware it is available.

Hepatic artery chemotherapy is done privately in Wellington.

About 1500 people per year are diagnosed with liver cancer and most have systemic chemotherapy as part of the treatment.

Hepatic artery chemo involves delivering the drugs directly into the liver. It limits side-effects like nausea, loss of appetite and hair loss.

Professor Richard Stubbs says it is effective and may buy time for patients, while being easier on them. He says he has done at least 500 since the early 1990s.

Auckland surgeon Jonathan Koea says the method has a place in treatment, but standard chemotherapy is still best.