Though cancers of the liver and pancreas are not the most common, they are among the deadliest. Most of the time, patients are asymptomatic until the cancer is in a late stage, when it has spread to include a large part of the organ or has metastasized to other parts of the body.
Because of the challenges of early diagnosis of hepatobiliary disease, specialized and expert treatment become essential for patients who have been diagnosed. The Cancer Institute is one of the few facilities in the region with the expertise to perform the complex Whipple surgery, a procedure that removes the head and neck of the pancreas.
Liver Cancer Surgeon
The Hodes Comprehensive Liver and Pancreas Center at St. Joseph has a highly experienced team of gastroenterologists and radiologists who perform the blood tests, diagnostic imaging and biopsies needed to diagnose liver and pancreatic cancer. Our skilled doctors can make all the difference in making an early diagnosis and starting an effective treatment plan.
Hepatocellular cancer or HCC is a primary liver cancer. Worldwide it is one of the most common cancers. Although a larger percentage of HCC cases are found in China and Sub-Saharan Africa, there has an increased incidence in this country. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are the most common causes of HCC. Chronic liver disease from other causes such as alcoholism predispose to the formation of HCC.
Treatment for HCC is primarily surgical. Surgical resection or orthotopic liver transplantation offers the best chance for cure. Tumors under than 5 centimeters have a better long-term survival with either surgical resection or transplantation than larger-sized tumors.
Patients with advanced liver disease are better served with orthotopic liver transplantation. Patients with preserved function and no portal hypertension can be treated by surgical resection with similar survival benefit.
Other modalities that are effective in the treatment of this tumor are TACE or chemoembolization. Laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation either alone or in combination with chemoembolization is also effective treatment options.