Liver Cancer

 

Liver cancer is a type of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. Cancer cells form in the tissues of the liver, one of the body’s largest organs, that filters harmful substances from the blood, metabolizes drugs, makes bile to help digest fats from food, and stores sugar, which the body uses for energy.

Premier Health is home to The Liver Cancer Center of Ohio, which gives you the surgical and interventional oncology specialists and resources you need to fight liver cancer. You can count on our highly coordinated, collaborative, comprehensive care throughout your liver cancer journey.

Detection And Prevention

Liver cancer is much more common in men than women. In the U.S., Asian Americans have the highest rate of liver cancer, followed by Hispanic Americans and African Americans. Individuals with hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection are at increased risk, as are those with alcohol-related liver disease. Individuals with cirrhosis (damaged liver cells replaced by scar tissue) as a result of alcohol abuse or chronic hepatitis C infection also have a higher risk. Hemochromatosis, a condition with abnormal iron metabolism, is strongly associated with liver cancer. Obesity and use of tobacco and alcohol may also increase your risk.

The most important thing you can do to prevent liver cancer is to avoid and treat hepatitis B and C infections, as well as inherited diseases like hemochromatosis that can cause cirrhosis of the liver. You can also avoid tobacco and alcohol, and watch your diet and body weight. Currently there is no screening test for liver cancer for people with no symptoms.

Diagnosis

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by liver cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • A hard lump on the right side just below the rib cage
  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Pain near the right should blade or in the back
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or feelings of fullness after eating a small meal
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Pale, chalky bowel movements and dark urine

After taking a complete history and performing a physical examination, your doctor may order tests to look for liver cancer. Additional tests that can help to diagnose liver cancer include the Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test and liver function tests.

Treatment

We’ll consider the type, size, and stage of your liver cancer, plus your age and overall health, to recommend one or more of the following treatment strategies:

  • Surgery to remove the primary (main) tumor or other tumors
  • Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to kill or stop the growth or spread of cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to prevent or delay your cancer's return
  • Symptom management for pain or other cancer-related symptoms

Our Unique Coordinated Care Approach

From the moment you contact us, we mobilize to bring you convenient, effective, personalized care.

We coordinate all surgical and interventional oncology specialists you need in your fight against liver cancer. In fact, you’ll consult with both a surgeon and interventional radiologist during a single office visit.

We stay connected with you throughout your treatment and continue to personalize therapy to address your unique liver cancer.

Our multidisciplinary approach with surgical and interventional oncology makes us the only program in Ohio – and one of only a few in the country – to combat liver cancer in this way.

Our Collaborative Team

At The Liver Cancer Center of Ohio, you have a whole team behind you, providing the care and compassion you need and deserve, including the surgical oncologists Matthew Doepker, MD and James R. Ouellette, DO, FACS.

We work closely with interventional radiologists, oncologists, gastroenterologists, primary care physicians and other care providers throughout your cancer journey.

Multidisciplinary Care Benefits

We coordinate multiple specialists who focus and collaborate on your liver cancer treatment.  Team-based care provides patients with these benefits:

  • Convenience and expertise all in one center
  • Collaborative physicians who provide expedited care and treatment
  • Patient-centered approach for high-quality care
  • Access innovative, comprehensive care
  • Efficient, less fragmented care for an improved patient experience

Comprehensive Liver Cancer Treatment

Our physicians specialize in a variety of surgical and interventional procedures to treat liver cancerDrawing on our extensive experience and using advanced medical tools and facilities, we perform:

  • Laparoscopic and open liver resections
  • Staged or redo liver resections
  • Ablation therapy that can kill tumor cells without removing the liver. With these techniques, physicians can access complex, hard-to-reach areas using traditional or laparoscopic surgery or CT guidance. Ablation may be recommended for patients who are not good surgical candidates. 
    • Microwave ablation uses heat generated by microwaves to kill a tumor that’s not removable or when removal would damage liver function. Microwaves are more predictable in heat generation and faster to use than radiofrequency.
    • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treats tumors by heating and destroying cancer cells. In use for more than 20 years, RFA is the original heat ablation technique.
    • Irreversible electroporation (NanoKnife®) uses localized electric currents to destroy cancer cells. This technique can be used in many soft tissue locations, especially when heat techniques cannot be.
  • Hepatic artery (HA) chemoembolization: Chemotherapy is put directly into the hepatic artery via a catheter. Then the artery is plugged so the chemotherapy can stay close to the tumor.
  • HA yttrium-90 microsphere radioembolization: Small beads that have a radioactive isotope (yttrium-90) attached to them are injected into the hepatic artery. Once infused, the beads lodge in the blood vessels near the tumor, where they give off small amounts of radiation to the tumor site for several days.
  • Pre-liver resection portal vein embolization
  • PTC catheter and/or high biliary stent placement
Matthew P. Doepker, MD

Matthew P. Doepker, MD

Premier Surgical Oncology

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James Ouellette, DO, FACS

James Ouellette, DO, FACS

Premier Surgical Oncology

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Keeping You Safe During COVID-19

You will find new safety measures in place when you schedule appointments and come to our facilities — all with the goal of keeping you safe as we care for you.

Contact Us

Our cancer team is here for you. Our cancer specialists have access to nationally recognized cancer care protocols and best practices, since Premier Health is a certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Our patients benefit from advanced local care backed by the world-renowned expertise of the nation’s leading cancer center. 

Call the Premier Health cancer hotline at (844) 316-HOPE(844) 316-4673 (4673), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to connect with a Premier Health cancer navigator.