Liver cancer is the fifth highest cause of death for men in the U.S. and is on the rise. Furthermore, South Texas has the highest incidence of liver cancer in the United States. This is about 5 percent higher than the rest of the country. “Diabetes and untreated hepatitis C, along with drug abuse and unprofessionally applied tattoos, are the major culprits for the higher incidence,” explains Fernando Membreño, MD, Transplant Hepatologist specializing in liver cancer and research at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital’s Texas Transplant Institute. Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital is a campus of Methodist Hospital.
“Texas ranks second in the number of newly diagnosed liver cancer cases and has one of the highest mortality (death) rates in the country because cases are diagnosed at a late stage.”
“Despite improved surveillance and imaging, there are large populations of patients with curable disease who do not receive appropriate surgical treatment in a timely manner,” says Lokesh Bathla, MD, Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgeon also at the Texas Transplant Institute, a department of Methodist Hospital. “There is no doubt that surgery improves survival for patients especially with early stage liver cancer, but it is vastly underutilized due to a variety of reasons. Most important amongst these are a patient’s socioeconomic status—specifically access to health care, education level and income. New research also suggests that patients who are treated at a comprehensive care center for these conditions have higher cure rates and longer survival,” he adds.
The Liver Cancer Center at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital is one such comprehensive program solely focused on the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the liver and biliary tract. Ourcomprehensive approach combines compassionate patient care with advanced treatment options provided by highly trained specialists with the goal of managing all aspects of investigations, treatment and follow-up under one roof.
The Liver Cancer Center provides advanced treatment options such as liver resection and transplantation, minimally invasive surgery; radiofrequency ablation; chemotherapy; and radioembolization, a combination of radiation therapy and a procedure called embolization to treat cancer of the liver. The end-stage liver failure clinic offers a variety of services, including hepatitis C treatments, management of liver failure, prevention of liver cancer and new innovative research options for many chronic liver diseases.