Conditions We Treat
Liver & Biliary Cancer
Einstein’s expert team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists and nurse navigators provide the most advanced, personalized care for liver, gallbladder and bile duct cancers.
The Latest Diagnostic Techniques
If you have symptoms such as weight loss, a lack of appetite, nausea, pain in your abdomen or an enlarged liver or spleen, your doctor may order a CT or MRI scan to check for liver cancer. These imaging tests will show any tumors or abnormalities in your liver. If your doctor detects a tumor or other abnormality, a biopsy will be performed to determine whether it is cancerous.
Advanced Treatment Options
Once your doctors have diagnosed your condition, they will meet to discuss your case and develop treatment recommendations, providing comprehensive, coordinated care. During your treatment, your doctors will continue to get regular updates on your progress, and they may recommend adjustments to your treatment depending on how the cancer is responding, and if there are any other concerns.
A common treatment for many types of cancer, radiation therapy targets cancer cells with beams of cancer-killing radiation. At Einstein, we use highly advanced technology to deliver extremely precise doses of radiation, including the Varian TrueBream® linear accelerator (LINAC), which is available at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, and the Varian Trilogy®, which is available in both Philadelphia and Montgomery.
By creating a 3D map of the cancer using a variety of advanced imaging systems, we are able to guide the radiation beam with an incredible degree of accuracy, minimizing damage to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. The most common form of radiation therapy is stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) when targeting tumors in the brain. However, other types of advanced radiation therapy are also available at Einstein:
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) – This type of radiation therapy allows your doctor to adjust the radiation beam as the tumor moves during treatment, which is especially useful for tumors in areas such as the lung.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy – This type of radiation therapy uses multiple small beams of varying intensities that can change shape during the treatment, helping to deliver higher, more precise doses of radiation with fewer side effects.
RapidArc® Radiation Therapy – One of the fastest and most precise radiation treatments available is RapidArc®, which can deliver the same amount of radiation but up to eight times faster than other leading cancer treatments.
Embolization is a minimally invasive therapy that targets the cancer by delivering powerful chemotherapy drugs or tiny radioactive beads directly to the tumor, cutting off the tumor’s blood supply. This helps increase the effectiveness of the treatment by localizing the chemotherapy or radiation, while starving the cancer cells of oxygen and other nutrients.
RFA is a minimally invasive therapy that uses image guidance to place a thin, needle-like probe directly into the tumor. High-energy radio waves are then passed through the probe, heating the tumor and destroying cancer cells.
Depending on the size of your tumor and other factors, your doctor may recommend surgical removal. Our surgeons use video-assisted techniques and the most minimally invasive procedures possible to remove the cancer without damaging healthy tissue. If there is enough healthy tissue left to restore function, your surgeon will perform a resection on your liver after the tumor is removed. If the cancer has spread to a large portion of your liver, you may require a liver transplant.
In addition to surgery and radiation, a variety of other therapies may be recommended to kill cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, or prevent it from returning.
Chemotherapy drugs target and kill dividing cells, which makes them an effective treatment against cancer because cancer cells divide much more often than most normal types of cells.
Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy or surgery, and can target cancer cells that may have been missed by other treatments or have spread to other areas of the body.
Your individual chemotherapy treatment plan will vary based on the type of cancer you have, where it is in your body, your overall health and other factors. A typical treatment plan may include four to eight rounds of chemotherapy, with several treatments per round, followed by a recovery period of two to four weeks. Most chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously on an outpatient basis, but you may also have the option of taking tablets or capsules.
Immunotherapies are treatments that help your body’s immune system identify and attack cancer cells. These treatments may include lab-grown batches of your own cancer-fighting T-cells, drugs that block proteins that stop the immune system from targeting cancer cells, proteins that attach themselves to cancer cells to signal the immune system to target them, and cancer vaccines and other similar treatments.
Targeted therapies are also cancer drugs like chemotherapy, but they work somewhat differently by targeting cancer-specific genes, proteins or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Targeted therapies can have effects such as slowing or stopping formation of blood vessels that supply the tumor, triggering the immune system to attack the cancer cells, or increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Through our clinical trials program, Einstein offers some of the most cutting-edge experimental cancer therapies available anywhere. Learn more about our clinical trials program, and talk to your doctor to see if you qualify for any ongoing trials.
Schedule an Appointment
To learn more about your cancer treatment options, or to get a second opinion, schedule a consultation with an Einstein specialist.
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