Liver & Pancreas Program

During 2016, almost 40,000 people in the US were diagnosed with a cancer of the liver, bile ducts, or gallbladder, and over 53,000 were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. [*1]Liver cancer, a type of hepatobiliary cancer, is classified as either primary (cancer originates in the liver) or secondary/metastatic (cancer spreads to the liver from somewhere else in the body). Other types of hepatobiliary cancers include malignant or cancerous tumors originating in the cells of the bile ducts and gallbladder. Hepatobiliary tumors may arise from the biliary tract itself, such as cholangiocarcinoma or gallbladder carcinoma, or from liver tissue, such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hepatobiliary/Liver cancers are difficult to detect early and do not typically produce signs or symptoms until later stages of the disease. Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach. Your pancreas secretes enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate the metabolism of sugars. Pancreatic cancer typically spreads rapidly and is seldom detected in its early stages.

At the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, we have developed a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team of specialists to treat patients diagnosed with pancreas and hepatobiliary cancer, or cancer of the liver, bile ducts, or gallbladder. Our Liver & Pancreas Cancer Program is composed of compassionate, dedicated and highly-trained healthcare providers and oncology support services team members who guide patients and coordinate care throughout the entire patient experience, from diagnosis to treatment and survivorship.

Screening and Diagnostics

Hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancers typically do not produce signs in their early stages, and may either start in the liver, pancreas, bile duct, or gallbladder or they may spread from somewhere else in the body. While many patients do not experience symptoms at all, when they do occur, they may include:

  • Jaundice
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Fever

Tests or procedures used to diagnose hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancers vary from case to case. Blood tests and liver function tests may be conducted in order to determine how well the liver, pancreas, and bile ducts are functioning. Imaging studies, including an abdominal ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan, are used to determine the size and extent of the cancer and to determine if it has spread to other areas or parts of the body. A biopsy is typically performed in order to obtain a diagnosis and to determine the appropriate course of therapy which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of treatment modalities.

Treatment

Northside offers the latest treatments, technologies, and clinical trials to offer more patients with hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancers a better hope for a cure. Surgery, chemotherapy, interventional radiology procedures, and radiation therapy are traditional treatment options, and treatment recommendations depend upon factors including cancer size and stage, prognostic indicators, personal history, medical history, and other information. Each patient is unique, and Northside’s team treats each patient individually based on their specific circumstances.

Support and Survivorship

Cancer treatment and recovery can be overwhelming, which is why the Northside Hospital Liver & Pancreas Program offers a dedicated Oncology Nurse Navigator to guide and support patients through their cancer journey. Patients also have access to a full range of oncology support services and survivorship programs and services, including oncology nutrition, genetic counseling, financial counseling and more.

Our Liver and Pancreas Cancer Multidisciplinary Care Team

Our specialists provide innovative, cutting-edge, and evidence-based treatment options for patients diagnosed with pancreatic or hepatobiliary cancer. Our team of specialists and support staff members meet regularly to review and discuss treatment options and coordinate agreed upon treatment plans. These conferences enable us to provide patients with the most comprehensive, individualized care possible.

Our Multidisciplinary Care Team members include:

  • Medical Oncologists
  • Surgical Oncologists
  • Radiation Oncologists
  • Pathologists
  • Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologists

Our Oncology Support Services include:

  • Dedicated Oncology Nurse Navigator
  • Dedicated Research Nurse
  • Dedicated Oncology Dietician
  • Oncology Social Work
  • Oncology Rehabilitation
  • Genetic Counseling and Testing
  • Palliative Care
  • Survivorship Programs and Services

[*1] Cancer Facts and Figures 2016; American Cancer Society website; https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2016/cancer-facts-and-figures-2016.pdf. Accessed Jan. 1, 2016

 

Northside Hospital - Atlanta

1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 851-8000

Northside Hospital - Cherokee

450 Northside Cherokee Blvd.
Canton, GA 30115
(770) 224-1000

Northside Hospital - Forsyth

1200 Northside Forsyth Drive
Cumming, GA 30041
(770) 844-3200


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