Emory’s Liver Tumor Clinic Helps Patients Find Answers, Delivers Better Outcomes

By: Emory Transplant Center
Date: Oct 15, 2020

When you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a liver tumor, you want access to the best evidence-based care and treatments. You want experienced providers who understand your diagnosis and are willing to work as a team to create a treatment plan that’s best for you.

Emory Healthcare’s Liver Tumor Clinic delivers just that experience. You’ll have access to specialists across disciplines – experts who can answer your questions, guide you to better outcomes and ensure you feel confident in your care at every turn.

What is the Liver Tumor Clinic at Emory Healthcare?

Emory’s Liver Tumor Clinic was created to improve outcomes for patients with two specific types of cancer: hepatocellular carcinoma and hilar cholangiocarcinoma.

What is hepatocellular carcinoma?

Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer. Also called hepatoma, risk factors include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Chronic hepatitis B or C infections
  • Chronic liver cirrhosis
  • Exposure to certain chemicals

Symptoms of liver hepatoma can vary based on the individual, but most often includes:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Itchy skin
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Noticeable mass in the upper, right part of the abdomen
  • Weight loss

Depending on your diagnosis, treatment options may include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Liver transplantation
  • Radiation
  • Surgery

What is hilar cholangiocarcinoma?

Hilar cholangiocarcinoma is cancer that occurs in the bile ducts that lead from the liver to the gallbladder. This rare cancer tends to occur in older individuals, typically those over age 50. Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Jaundice
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • White-colored stools

Treatment for hilar cholangiocarcinoma may include:

  • Ablation
  • Chemotherapy (including chemoembolization)
  • Clinical trials
  • Immunotherapy
  • Liver transplantation
  • Radiation (including radioembolization)
  • Targeted drug therapy

Coordinated, Best-In-Class Care for Liver and Bile Duct Cancer

When it comes time to develop a treatment plan, your care team will work closely with you to develop a plan that improves outcomes and your quality of life.

Emory’s Liver Tumor Clinic brings physicians from different specialties together in one room with one goal – finding the best path forward for you.

During your clinic appointment, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with:

  • Transplant hepatologists
  • Transplant surgeons
  • Medical oncologists
  • Interventional radiologists

This team will then review your chart, which includes medical history, family history, imaging scans and any other relevant tests. Then, they will discuss the best course of treatment for you. That may include:

  • Liver-directed therapy
  • Liver transplant
  • Surgical resection
  • Systemic chemotherapy

Ultimately, this team will work closely with you to identify your treatment goal and create a plan that will help you achieve it. Whether that’s getting you cancer-free, helping you get healthy enough for a transplant or any other goal, we’ll be here for you.

Learn more about Liver Treatments and Services offered at Emory Healthcare.

One Patient’s Success Story

Since 2013, the providers at Emory’s Liver Tumor Clinic have been helping patients find answers and get them where they need to be. One of the patients the team worked with in that first year was a 63-year-old man who was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma. Liver transplantation is an outstanding treatment option for this form of liver tumor. The patient initially did not meet the criteria for a liver transplant, but with a plan from his multidisciplinary care team, he was able to eventually undergo liver transplantation surgery.

The patient’s care plan began with a coordinated effort to downstage his liver tumor – a tumor large enough that it disqualified him from liver transplantation surgery. The Liver Tumor team recommended liver-directed therapy to shrink the cancer. After successful treatments that included the DEB-TACE procedure and radioembolization, he met the criteria for surgery. Now, after a successful liver transplant, he shows no signs of his liver cancer and enjoys traveling the country and playing with his band, when possible.

About Emory's Liver Transplant Program

Emory Healthcare delivers experienced, proven, nationally recognized liver transplant care to patients from across the state, region and country. Since 1987, when the first liver transplant was performed at Emory Healthcare, our teams have been pushing forward the standard of care. Now, we perform more than 150 adult liver transplantations each year. Learn more about the Liver Transplant Program.

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