Jefferson University Hospitals

Liver Cancer

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A diagnosis of liver cancer can be frightening and overwhelming. At the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, we follow a clear, patient-friendly process to guide you and your family through diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care.

Our experts at the Liver Tumor Center are at the forefront of treatments for liver cancer. From surgical to nonsurgical treatments, we offer a full complement of options to address virtually any type of liver disease.

If your physician suspects you have liver cancer, you will be evaluated to determine an exact diagnosis and to determine if you have cancer – and whether it has spread to any other organs. Once the test results are reviewed, Jefferson's Liver Tumor Board will discuss treatment options and formulate an individualized, integrated treatment plan that will best address your needs.

Jefferson has been at the forefront of treating liver diseases for more than 30 years, and our experts offer a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Depending upon your condition, you may need a liver resection, radiofrequency ablation (RFA), intrahepatic chemotherapy/chemoembolization, yttrium-90 microsphere radioembolization, pump intra-arterial chemotherapy or a liver transplant.

Another advantage to being treated at Jefferson is that our experts are leading the field in research and may be able to offer you the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of clinical trials through the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. We also offer support for you and your family's emotional and psychological needs through the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health.

Bloodless Liver Resection

Bloodless liver resection, a revolutionary new surgical technique to treat liver cancer, allows our surgeons to safely remove up to 75 percent of the liver – improving your odds and cutting recovery time in half.

With this new method, there are no incisions. Surgeons utilize a device called a cavitational ultrasonic surgical aspirator, or CUSA, which uses ultrasonic waves to aspirate (suction out) liver cells, leaving behind only a skeleton of blood vessels. A second tool called a TissueLink is a probe that streams hot, sterile water from its tip to coagulate the liver's blood vessels, sealing them upon contact. Combining these tools reduces surgical time by nearly half (only 2 to 4 hours with the bloodless method, contrasted with the 4 to 6 hours of a traditional resection). The technique also confines any tissue damage to a much smaller area than if a scalpel had been used.

With the bloodless liver resection, you generally can be up and walking 24 hours after surgery, remain in the Hospital only five to seven days (compared with 10 to 14) and be back to regular activities in two weeks (as opposed to four) and completely recovered in one month. The resected liver can regenerate to its original size in two to three weeks.

Liver Transplantation

Jefferson's Liver Transplant Program has a long tradition of outstanding success in treatment. In fact, we performed the first liver transplant in the Delaware Valley more than 25 years ago. To date, more than 500 patients have received transplants at Jefferson, and we have the lowest mortality rate among patients on the recipient waiting list of centers served by the nonprofit Gift of Life Donor Program in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

The United Network for Organ Sharing, which administers the nation's policies on organ transplantation and procurement, designated Jefferson as a liver transplant program for both live and deceased donors.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are the best way patients can receive new therapies and procedures. To find out if a clinical trial might be right for you, ask your health care provider or contact the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Clinical Research Management Office at 215-955-1661.