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For people who cannot have chemotherapy, there is not much good evidence about how well this procedure works for liver metastases. This procedure can be used but only when patients are having regular checks to see how well it is working or if it has caused problems. This is because of concerns about its long-term effects.

For people who can have chemotherapy, this procedure can only be done as part of a research study. This is because there is not enough evidence to be sure how well it works.

Bowel cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is called colorectal metastases. It may not be possible to remove metastases in the liver using surgery (unresectable). In this procedure tiny radioactive ‘beads’ are injected into blood vessels supplying the colorectal metastases, where they become trapped. The beads release radiation directly into the cancer cells. The aim is to destroy the cancer cells while causing as little damage to the liver as possible.

The NHS website may be a good place to find out more. NICE's information on interventional procedures guidance has more about what a procedure is and how we assess them.

Is this procedure right for me?

If you’ve been offered this procedure, your healthcare professionals should discuss with you what is involved, explain any research study, and tell you about the risks and benefits. They should talk with you about your options, and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. All of this should happen before you agree (consent) to have the procedure and to be in any study. You should also be told how to find more information about the procedure. Read more about making decisions about your care.

Some questions to think about

  • What does the procedure involve?
  • What are the possible benefits? How likely am I to get them?
  • What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
  • What happens if the procedure doesn’t work or something goes wrong?
  • What happens if I don’t want the procedure? Are there other treatments available?

ISBN: 978-1-4731-3693-9

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