Liver cancer care in the Greater Kansas City area
Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health offers highly specialized care for patients with cancer affecting the liver and biliary tract. The Liver and Pancreas Institute at Research Medical Center provides comprehensive services that allows us to provide a personalized treatment plan addressing your health from every angle.
Our staff includes hepatologists, who treat conditions affecting the liver, biliary system, gallbladder and pancreas. Working together with our expert oncology team, we provide highly specialized care for patients with liver cancer.
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Understanding liver function
The liver is an important organ humans cannot live without. Its primary function is to deliver bile to the intestines via the bile ducts. It also helps break down substances, such as drugs and alcohol, along with other toxic wastes in the blood.
When liver cancer (hepatic cancer) is present, it affects the liver's ability to function. Depending on the stage and type of liver cancer, different treatments may be needed, such as partial resection of the liver or a liver transplant. We also care for patients with bile duct cancer.
Liver cancer symptoms
More commonly, cancer spreads to the liver rather than developing in the liver. When this occurs, it is called metastatic cancer (not liver cancer), even though the liver is still affected.
Many patients with liver cancer will not experience any signs or symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do occur, however, they can include:
- Abnormal stool
- Appetite loss
- Jaundice (yellow appearance of the skin and eyes)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Weight loss without trying to lose weight
Clinical excellence in liver cancer
Patients at the Liver and Pancreas Institute have access to a wide range of services throughout treatment. Combined with the power of Sarah Cannon at HCA Midwest Health, our patients have access to world-class medical care and cancer support services while they receive liver cancer treatment, including:
- Access to clinical trials
- Genetic counseling
- Medical oncology
- Nurse navigation
- Radiation oncology
- Surgical oncology
Liver cancer treatments
Liver cancer is typically diagnosed through imaging techniques, such as computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasounds. Diagnostic testing may also be performed, including biopsies and blood tests.
If a liver cancer diagnosis is confirmed, we are here to organize a care plan. Our cancer network allows us to provide a variety of treatment options, including:
- Chemotherapy, including interventional radiology
- Radiation therapy
- Surgical removal of part of the liver
We also offer cancer rehabilitation to relieve any side effects that may arise due to cancer treatment.
Risk factors for developing liver cancer
Many factors, such as gender and ethnicity, may affect someone's chances for developing liver cancer. However, there are several factors patients can manage to lower their chances of developing liver cancer.
Risk factors you can control include:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Type 2 diabetes
- Viral hepatitis (hepatitis B or C)
About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute
HCA Midwest Health is part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare. Our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally trusted care with the support of a globally recognized network.
Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (816) 448-7737 or visit askSARAHnow.