OCHSNER STORIES & MORE AT BLOG.OCHSNER.ORG
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Liver Transplants: A Waiting List Snapshot
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Ochsner Doctor's Note: Precision Cancer Therapies Program
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What is Cholangiocarcinoma?
There was a time when cancer of the liver was considered an incurable state. That time is no more. Current treatments can extend survival and even offer the chance of a cure in select patients. At the Ochsner Cancer Institute Liver Tumor Treatment Center, the full spectrum of cutting-edge technologies for care of patients with liver cancer and other liver tumors is available close to home, in the Gulf South. Our patient-centered approach ensures the highest quality care while maintaining patient comfort and minimizing treatment-related stress and anxiety.
Unique Patient Benefits
Each patient at the Liver Tumor Treatment Center is evaluated at a multidisciplinary conference where an individualized treatment plan is developed with the input of the entire liver tumor team. This team consists of surgical oncologists, transplant surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists and radiologists. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that all possible treatment strategies for liver cancer are discussed, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The team also discusses clinical trial opportunities for patients who are interested in this option.
- Multidisciplinary care continues throughout the liver cancer treatment process. Anesthesia, nursing and psychology staff are trained specifically to care for patients with liver tumors and to help ensure that treatments, such as liver resection, are done in the safest possible manner.
- Same or next-day appointments are available. The physician support staff will coordinate with referring physicians to obtain a timely consultation and ensure all necessary studies are scheduled.
- Dedicated nurse navigators are available to help patients through the sometimes complex treatment process. Nurse navigator assistance begins with clinic access and continues through the entire course of therapy. For surgical patients, this assistance includes coordinating home care after hospital discharge and a routine postdischarge phone call to check in, to make sure everything is going OK at home and to schedule the follow-up appointment. Extensive patient and family education is vital to successful treatment and the nurse navigators are intimately involved with the patient education process.
Qualified patients and family members can obtain free lodging at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. Many of our patients travel many miles to obtain treatment at our Liver Tumor Treatment Center, making the Hope Lodge an incredibly valuable resource.
Liver Cancer Tumor Types/Conditions Treated
Colorectal cancer metastases: After the lymph nodes, the liver is the most common site of the spread of colon and rectal cancers. Nearly 50% of all patients with colorectal cancer will develop liver tumors. Significant progress has been made for treating this condition and patients now have the chance for long-term survival—even patients with extensive, bilateral liver involvement who were once considered poor candidates for liver treatments. Using advanced technologies, such as laparoscopic liver resection, portal vein embolization and two-stage resections, we can offer treatments to many patients with conditions that were once considered incurable.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma: Hepatocellular carcinoma most commonly develops in the presence of chronic liver disease such as viral hepatitis (hepatitis B, hepatitis C) or fatty infiltration that can lead to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Surgical treatment considerations are liver resection and liver transplantation. Patients who are not surgical candidates are often treated with chemotherapy delivered directly into the tumors using radiological techniques.
- Neuroendocrine tumor liver metastases: Neuroendocrine tumors often spread to the liver in a manner similar to the way colorectal tumors spread. Neuroendocrine tumors are rare cancers that develop in a neuoroendocrine cell rather than a cell lining a duct or bowel lumen. Neuroendocrine liver tumors are treated with liver resection and radiologic-directed chemotherapy or radiation. These tumors are rarely treated with liver transplantation.
- Biliary cancers: Our care team also treats bile duct and gallbladder cancers
- Benign liver lesions: Benign lesions include adenoma and focal nodular hyperplasia
Liver Cancer Treatment Options
The Liver Tumor Treatment Center surgeons have extensive experience with major liver resection, minimally invasive laparoscopic approaches and liver transplantation. Our liver transplant program is the busiest in the region and one of the top five busiest in the country. For patients previously considered poor surgical candidates, we routinely utilize portal vein embolization and two-stage resection techniques.
Other treatments include thermal ablation (RFA, microwave) and interventional approaches (drug-eluting beads, radioactive spheres).
Clinical Trials for Liver Cancer Treatment
Surgical and chemotherapy trials are available for patients who wish to get involved. There is no extra pressure to enroll in a trial, but they are available and our physicians are ready to discuss the options.
- John Bolton, MD – Surgical Oncology
- Jyotsna Fuloria, MD – Medical Oncology
- Suma Satti, MD – Medical Oncology
- Ramon Rivera, MD – Gastroenterology
- Virendra Joshi, MD – Gastroenterology
- Kim Drake, NP – Surgical Oncology
Excellent Outcomes for Liver Cancer Treatment
Our current three-year risk-adjusted mortality index (RAMI) is 0.49 for liver resection. This means our mortality rate is much less than expected for our patient population.