In the last 10 years there has been a constant growth in the number of patients with primary liver cancer treated at Yale New Haven Hospital and at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Smilow is one of the few medical centers able to offer a comprehensive array of therapeutic approaches and personalized care to patients with primary liver cancer, according to the needs of each patient. These considerations have justified the formation of a freestanding Liver Cancer Program.
Liver cancer is one of the few malignancies where incidence and mortality are still increasing. Liver cancer is different from most other solid tumors because it arises in patients with an already failing liver. The condition of the liver and its function are the main determinants of survival and also of the type and intensity of the treatment that can be applied. A robust group of hepatologists participate in our program and their role is to maintain the liver function and to help each patient through the different treatments and stages of the disease, from the diagnosis, to the multidisciplinary sequential treatments, to the prevention of tumor recurrence, to the prevention and treatment of liver decompensation, and eventually to liver transplantation, if necessary.
Our philosophy, uniqueness, and reason for success are integration and coordination of care. In our program, physicians with different and complementary skills work together towards a single aim: to provide the best possible care to patients affected by liver cancer. At the Liver Cancer Program at Smilow, hepatologists, medical oncologists, and transplant and hepatobiliary surgeons, along with pathologists and diagnostic and interventional radiologists, work in a coordinated way with the aim to maximize the value of care for our patients.
Another reason for our success is our commitment to data analysis. Quality performance data and clinical outcome data are continually collected and analyzed and collegially discussed, so that a cycle of continuous improvement is generated. Our Program evolves thanks to the constant analysis of patient-relevant data. The Program runs on hard evidence, not impressions.
Innovation is in the DNA of Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. Innovation is seen at all levels of our Program - care delivery, health technology, clinical trials, and molecular and transitional hepatology. This is where the future standard of care is being tested and written, by some of the best physicians, nationally and internationally.
A major strength of our program is that it is based on shared knowledge, rather than procedures. We are not driven by procedures, rather we all share our knowledge to generate the best possible plan of care for each individual patient.
Last, but not least, we are proud of the competent, empathic, and compassionate care provided by our staff at all levels. They understand what our patients are going through!