Although relatively rare, liver cancer strikes approximately 33,000 Americans each year, mostly men over the age of 45. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with liver cancer, talk to us. It's important to learn about your options and take action right away. Liver cancer is challenging to treat, but survival rates greatly improve for both early and advanced-stage liver cancer patients when the disease is caught early and treated promptly.
Sometimes other cancers can travel (metastasize) from other sites to the liver, including from the colon or rectum, bile ducts or gallbladder.
At City of Hope, we have one of the most experienced liver cancer programs in the United States with an unmatched reputation for coordinated and compassionate care. Additionally, our surgeons have some of the highest experience in liver surgery in the United States along with one of the best records of safety, innovation, and long-term outcomes. We bring together a broad array of expertise from multiple disciplines using advanced technologies and specialized techniques including:
Plus, your care continues long after treatment is complete. Our supportive care experts — including dieticians, supportive medicine physicians and rehabilitation specialists — work closely with your primary care team to detect and address quality of life issues related to liver cancer and its treatments. This includes managing symptoms (such as pain, nausea and fatigue), adjusting to a new diet and lifestyle after treatment, and being aware of possible long-term effects. We also offer unique family and survivorship programs to assist your loved ones and caregivers.
Nationally Ranked Cancer Center
As one of a handful of institutes to attain the elite designation of Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute , City of Hope is acknowledged as a leader in liver cancer research and treatment. With our decades of experience, specialized therapy protocols and extensive program of clinical trials, newly diagnosed or relapsed patients can find a treatment regimen that is tailored to their needs and gives them the best chance for survival. U.S. News & World Report also named City of Hope as one of the top cancer hospitals in the country.
At City of Hope, patients with liver cancer are treated by a multidisciplinary team including surgeons, medical oncologists, gastroenterologists, diagnostic radiologists, interventional radiologists, pathologists and radiation oncologists who work together to determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient.
Because our doctors are also leaders in their field, patients under our care have access to the newest treatment approaches. Our clinicians are also noted clinical researchers, who lead some of the most innovative clinical trials in this area.
Select from the list below to learn more about our primary liver cancer specialists, their education, training, board certifications, current publications and specific areas of clinical expertise.
At City of Hope, we have a dedicated team of nurses who specialize in caring for patients with liver cancer during outpatient visits and inpatient hospital stays. Each nurse works in collaboration with one primary physician to oversee every patient’s care. This allows our nurses to assess a patient’s needs, triage symptoms, and, if necessary, make referrals to other departments within City of Hope, such as supportive care medicine, nutrition, and social work. Nurses also help patients understand the details of the treatment plan and what to expect throughout the course of treatment. They are actively involved with teaching both patients and their families, and provide educational materials as needed.
As the liaison between patients and physicians, nurses play an important role in the team approach to care offered at the Center.
City of Hope has a long-standing commitment to improving the detection and treatment of primary liver cancer (cancer which begins in the liver) with a goal of developing more effective therapies for this disease. Our experts have treated thousands of patients with liver cancer.
Liver cancer can be a difficult disease, so treatment needs to be rapid and aggressive, requiring the expertise of experienced specialists, to ensure optimal results and best chance at a cure.
Team Approach to Care
City of Hope has one of the most renowned liver cancer programs in the United States, with a multidisciplinary team of medical experts across different fields - including surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology and supportive care medicine. Together, they work collaboratively to plan and implement a treatment regimen that is individually tailored to the patient to enhance outcomes and quality of life.
Members of our liver cancer team meet twice weekly to review patient cases, bringing a variety of clinical perspectives and experience to the development of an individualized treatment plan. The team also participates in a weekly meeting to share clinical trial results, review information from surgical pathology reports, and plan future research studies.
Our doctors are active members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). They lead and participate in most national clinical trials to improve the detection, treatment, and prevention of liver cancer.
Highlights of City of Hope's liver cancer treatment program include:
In collaboration with other departments and cancer centers, City of Hope’s liver cancer program has an active portfolio of clinical trials studying novel treatments, including trials of new surgery, radiation and drug therapy regimens that are more effective against the disease and reduce unwanted side effects for patients. Many of these promising therapies are only available to patients being treated at City of Hope.
Learn more about our clinical trials.
Because we are both a treatment center and research facility, City of Hope's doctors and researchers work closely together to develop cutting-edge therapies and procedures, bringing them to patients as rapidly as possible, to improve survival rates and enhance quality of life. Here are some of our current liver cancer research projects:
Because cancer of the liver is difficult to control, regular follow-up care after the initial course of treatment -- including periodic imaging, liver function, and blood tests -- is very important. You should also never hesitate to let members of your care team know about pain or any symptoms, changes, or problems that occur after treatment. Follow-up care can be arranged to be ongoing at the City of Hope or arranged in partnership with you primary care physicians.
There is a high incidence of recurrent liver cancer, even after successful treatment. Patients who have been treated for liver cancer should see their surgeon, oncologist, or other doctors for regular surveillance with imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT, or MRI to determine whether the cancer has returned.
Hepatitis Treatment and Liver Cancer Surveillance
Some patients with liver cancer have chronic hepatitis B or C. These viruses cause chronic inflammation and scarring in the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis B and C can be controlled with antiviral medications. Treatment with antiviral medications is often recommended in combination with treatment for liver cancer.
Patients with liver cancer often have cirrhosis or associated diabetes. Dietary counseling can often help prevent other metabolic problems or symptoms of liver insufficiency. Patients should minimize or eliminate alcohol use and avoid intensive treatment with herbal remedies. City of Hope’s Supportive Care Medicine Program provides ongoing access to nutritional information and other quality-of-life support.
While our primary goal is to cure or control the disease, another top priority is relieving suffering and discomfort for liver cancer patients undergoing cancer treatments.
In addition to curative treatments, City of Hope liver cancer patients and their caregivers have access to the broad range of services offered by our Department of Supportive Care Medicine. The department’s staff of professionals, including registered dieticians, rehabilitation specialists, supportive medicine physicians and clinical social workers, can help patients and loved ones with a variety of care and wellness issues including:
The Department of Supportive Care Medicine is based in City of Hope’s Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, which integrates all support services in a central location. The Biller Resource Center provides a warm and welcoming space where patients, families and caregivers can access the resources, education and support they need to strengthen and empower themselves, before, during and after treatment.
For more information or to contact the Biller Resource Center staff, please call 626-256-4673, ext. 32273 (3CARE).
Living with Cancer - This site includes tips, tools and online resources to help cancer patients and their families with issues that arise during cancer treatment.
Support the Liver Cancer Program
It takes the help of a lot of caring people to make hope a reality for our patients. City of Hope was founded by individuals' philanthropic efforts more than 100 years ago. Their efforts − and those of our supporters today − have built the foundation for the care we provide and the research we conduct. It enables us to strive for new breakthroughs and better therapies − helping more people enjoy longer, better lives.
For more information on supporting this specific program, please contact us below.
Or, you can make a gift to support all the research at City of Hope by donating online.