The Liver Cancer Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital offers an entire spectrum of therapies for primary liver cancers, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma and choangiocarcinoma. The incidence of liver and bile duct cancer has more than tripled since 1980, and about 41,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. While the incidence is rising, new treatments and improved surgical techniques have kept mortality from the disease from increasing. Our team is dedicated to diagnosing liver cancer early, when treatment is optimal, and to discovering new, more effective treatment options for our patients.
The Liver Cancer Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital includes a dedicated group of specialists - including hepatologists, hepatobiliary and transplant surgeons, diagnostic and interventional radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, and nurses. The team meets weekly at a dedicated Liver Cancer Tumor Board meeting to discuss each new patient’s diagnosis and to develop a personalized treatment plan for every patient by reach a consensus on their best treatment. A patient’s health status, age, liver function, cancer stage and localization in the liver, and personal goals are all factors in determining an appropriate treatment plan for each of our patients.
A combination of interventional radiology and surgical techniques, including ablation therapy, liver resection, new chemotherapeutic options, and liver transplantation, are available to our patients. For some patients, these treatments can cure their disease. For patients diagnosed with early disease, liver transplantation can provide definitive cure for both the cancer and advanced liver disease that frequently accompanies a diagnosis of cancer.
For patients who do not have advanced liver disease or for patients who cannot receive a liver transplant, surgical resection and ablative therapies such as transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) or radiofrequency ablation (RFA) can provide excellent survival rates. TACE delivers chemotherapy through a catheter directly to the liver tumor. RFA is a common treatment method for small tumors and uses a direct current to destroy tumors.
After treatment, our onco-hepatologist team provides continued care to manage the underlying liver disease, preserve liver function, and monitor for possible recurrence of cancer and re-treat if necessary.
Clinical trials are also available options for patients with advanced disease, using new ablation treatment, new targeted agents, and combinations of treatments to target specific intracellular mechanisms of the liver cancer.
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