If you’ve recently found out you have liver cancer, you are probably feeling a range of emotions and have many questions. At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, we understand. We are here to help you find answers and offer you expert, compassionate care.
Each year, our world-class doctors care for more patients with liver cancer than anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest. Together, they discuss patient cases, combining their deep clinical expertise in liver, gallbladder, bile duct and related cancers to bring the best treatments to our patients.
When most patients come to Fred Hutch, they will be seen at the Liver Tumor Clinic at UW Medical Center – Montlake, which offers the full range of care you may need. Some patients who have advanced disease will be seen directly in our medical oncology department.
We will talk with you about clinical trial options as well as systemic therapies that might help you. Whatever type of treatment is right for you, you will receive it from a Fred Hutch specialist who focuses exclusively on liver care
The Center for Advanced Minimally Invasive Liver Oncologic Therapy at UW Medical Center – Montlake (CAMILOT) is dedicated to finding the most advanced minimally invasive treatment options for liver cancer patients whenever possible.
CAMILOT, established in 1998, is the first center of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Today, it has become one of the most respected multidisciplinary clinics devoted to the treatment of liver tumors in the United States.
Learn more about CAMILOT
For some situations, liver transplant is standard therapy. Fred Hutch is designed to help all patients with liver cancer, no matter what type of treatment you may need. If you need a liver transplant, you will be treated at UW Medical Center - Montlake, which has a Liver Transplant Program. If you are waiting for a transplant, you may have other treatments at Fred Hutch.
Learn more about Liver Transplant
From the first time you come to see us, your liver team will begin getting to know you and your family. What are your questions? What are your concerns?
At your first appointment at Fred Hutch, your physician will explain your disease and the steps needed to treat you. Your doctor will also tell you about any tests we will need to do in order to learn more information that will help plan your care. We know you have many questions, and from this point on, we will start replacing unknowns with answers.
There are two subtypes of liver cancer: hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is the most common, and cholangiocarcinoma, which grows in the bile ducts of the liver.
Knowing your subtype is important because it helps your physician better understand what treatment types are best for you and if they are working like they should. It also helps them know what side effects might occur during your treatment.
The treatment you get will depend on many things, like the condition of your liver; the size, location and number of tumors you have; and if the cancer has spread outside your liver. Other things matter, too, like your age and overall health.
Our liver experts put all this information together, then use their knowledge and insights to recommend the best treatment plan for you.
At Fred Hutch, we surround you with experts who focus completely on cancer care. A handful of people make up the core of your care team. You will have a medical oncologist and a registered nurse who are experienced in caring for people with liver cancer. At some visits, you might see an advanced practice provider. A patient care coordinator schedules your visits.
The safest, most effective and most widely accepted therapies for cancer are known as the “standard of care.” For many patients, these therapies will be a large part of their treatment. At Fred Hutch, we provide all standard therapies for liver cancer. We know how to choose the right ones for you and how to deliver them to give you the best chance at a full recovery.
Our physicians and researchers are always asking how we can make liver cancer treatments more effective and reduce side effects as much as possible. This is why we opened our Center for Advanced Minimally Invasive Liver Oncologic Therapy (CAMILOT), the first center of its kind in our region. It’s also why we conduct clinical trials. Through CAMILOT and these trials, we can offer you therapies that aren’t available everywhere. A therapy that is going through trials today may become the new standard tomorrow.
Along with treating your cancer, a group of world-class professionals is here to support you. This team includes nurses, registered dietitians, physical therapists, social workers and psychologists. We also include supportive care services for your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
When someone close to you is diagnosed with liver cancer, you might step into the role of caregiver. Being a caregiver can mean many things, from lending a hand with daily living tasks to helping with medical decisions. It can also mean dealing with your own emotions and stress.
At Fred Hutch, caregivers are valuable members of a patient’s care team. We see every day that your presence and your support make a difference. We know that what your friend or family member is going through affects you, too.
Part of our mission is to help you take care of yourself. Caring for yourself is good for your physical, mental and emotional health. It also helps you give your best to your loved one. Our social workers, Spiritual Health team and Patient and Family Resource Center staff are here to help support you.
Physicians and scientists from Fred Hutch and UW Medicine are testing new treatments for liver cancer and discovering new ways to use current liver cancer treatments.
Through this work, we are looking for answers to two main questions: How can we do even better at controlling or curing liver cancer? How can we make treatments easier on patients?
We have clinical trials for all stages of liver cancer, from early to advanced. Some of the therapies we are studying are:
When your care team designs your treatment plan, they will give you the choice to join clinical trials that match your situation. If you decide to join one, you will see the same doctors and nurses as you would for standard therapy.
Your care team will talk with you about if you might want to join a particular study and why. This can help you make the decision that is best for you.
After a tumor has been removed and studied, part of the tissue is saved in a storage bank called a biorepository. The biorepository can be used by scientists who are looking for new approaches and cures for cancer. At Fred Hutch, we have many types of biorepositories, which help us do research for groundbreaking trials and new therapies.