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Kevin Billingsley, MD, MBA, in honor of Liver Cancer Awareness Month

October 24, 2023

As we honor liver cancer awareness month, what do you want our patients and families to pause and remember?
I would like for patients and families to remember that liver cancer can be very successfully managed if detected early. If people have a history of hepatitis or even fatty liver disease, they should discuss screening with their healthcare providers. We have enormous opportunities to detect and treat early.

What inspired you to become a surgical oncologist?
I love the relationships I have with my patients and their families. The connection we develop is very special and very rewarding. I also thrive on the technical challenges of complex gastrointestinal surgery.

What advances have made the biggest impact in the treatment of patients with liver cancer over the last five years, and what is the outlook for in the next five years?
We have made enormous progress in all areas of liver cancer treatment but perhaps the most exciting is the emergence of immunotherapy as very active treatment for patients with primary liver cancer. I think it’s a game changer in many ways.

What are some ways that these advances can be made more accessible and affordable for all?
We need to provide enhanced access for liver related care in our diverse communities. Screening for liver disease needs to be part of the health conversation just like smoking, diabetes, and other cancer screenings. People can be fearful of discussing liver related health because of fears of judgment or stigmatization.

Submitted by Eliza Folsom on October 24, 2023