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SJCH Becomes First in Kern County to Provide a New Minimally Invasive Procedure for Cancer Patients

Cancer DECEMBER, 2014 (BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA) – San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) continues to make history by becoming the first hospital in the Kern County to provide transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). The procedure is a way of delivering cancer treatment directly to a tumor through minimally invasive (non-surgical) means. The TACE procedure can be used for various tumors, but is most commonly implemented in treating primary/metastatic liver cancers at various stages and gives patients an alternative to open surgeries. In addition, this procedure also allows doctors to treat patients who are not candidates for conventional surgery or radiation treatments. Since this procedure is now performed at San Joaquin Community Hospital, patients no longer need to seek treatment out of town.

The TACE Procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist who uses live imaging to guide a small tube through a puncture in the groin, and up to the artery supplying the liver. The imaging highlights the blood supply to the tumor, and the tube is further guided to that location. The procedure can then be used to deliver both chemotherapy medication and embolization materials into the blood vessels that lead to the tumor. 

With this technique, the chemotherapy primarily targets the tumor while reducing many of the side effects associated with traditional chemotherapy.  The embolization cuts off the blood supply to the tumor, while embolization beads delivered to the tumor are dipped with a chemotherapy drug which is slowly released, destroying the tumor over time. 

This procedure, now performed at SJCH, allows doctors to treat tumors that are not accessible using conventional surgery or radiation treatments. Although rarely a cure, chemoembolization can often stop tumor progression, and in some cases may even shrink tumors enough to allow for potentially healing therapies such as an organ transplant. Research has shown that TACE helps improve the quality of life for most patients and helps them live longer.

As a minimally invasive procedure involving a small incision, there are fewer complications and less recovery time compared to traditional open surgery. Patients that have under gone this procedure at San Joaquin Community Hospital have stayed overnight for observation and returned home the next day.