Liver and Bile Duct Cancer

Compassionate, skilled care for liver and bile duct cancer that puts your well-being first.

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Liver and bile duct cancer care includes a thorough evaluation and treatments from specialists who have extra training and experience with these conditions. You’ll find this and additional support close to home at Nuvance Health® Cancer Institute.

A team of cancer specialists and other skilled doctors deliver more of the services you need close to home. Additional services include genetic testing, the latest surgical procedures and clinical trials.

What are Liver and Bile Duct Cancers?

Liver cancer and bile duct cancer are separate diseases that occur when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably. Care for both conditions includes many of the same tests and treatments, which is why they are often grouped together.

These cancers affect organs that help your body convert nutrients from food into energy:

  • Your liver stores carbohydrates and produces a fluid, bile, that enables you to absorb fat and certain vitamins. Liver cancer may start in the liver (hepatocellular cancer), but often arises when cancers spread from other organs (metastatic liver cancer).
  • Bile ducts are hollow tubes connecting the liver and small intestine. Bile travels through the ducts to help the small intestine break down food. This type of cancer, which is also called cholangiocarcinoma, is rare.

Liver and Bile Duct Cancer Care at Nuvance Health: Why Choose Us?

Liver and bile duct cancers require delicate care due to the organs' complex web of blood vessels. The care team has specialized experience in diagnosing and treating these cancers because we treat a high volume of patients. We can also help you if you have noncancerous conditions, including liver tumors and other abnormal growths. Our years of experience helps you receive the care that's right for your needs. Highlights of our program include:

  • Personalized care:
    You benefit from thorough evaluations, which often include imaging with sophisticated technology. Teams of specialists gather in meetings called tumor boards to discuss findings and plan treatments.
  • Advanced surgical care:
    The team includes some of the few fellowship-trained liver surgeons in the region. This level of training gives eligible patients access to more options, including minimally invasive procedures that use small incisions. These techniques spare as much healthy tissue as possible.
  • Support:
    Cancer nurse navigators are here for you throughout your care experience. They reach out to you early on to provide emotional support and coordinate care appointments. And if you have questions between appointments, they are available by phone.
  • Clinical trials:
    Our active participation in liver and bile duct cancer research gives you access to new treatments, if eligible. We offer trials that are sometimes only available in select programs nationwide. Read more about cancer clinical trials and research.

Liver and Bile Duct Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of liver and bile duct cancer include:

  • Chalky, white stools
  • Jaundice, which causes yellowing of the skin and is a sign of liver issues
  • Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Unusual tiredness (fatigue)

Diagnosing Liver and Bile Duct Cancer

We use specific imaging methods and special technology to pinpoint the location of the cancer. The accuracy of these images enables us to plan complex treatments that spare critical blood vessels, lowering your risk of complications. Find out more about diagnosis.

Some forms of liver and bile duct cancer are passed down in families. We may perform genetic testing to learn more about your risk. Testing may also include genomic testing to check for specific gene changes (mutations) that only respond to certain treatments. These extra steps help you receive targeted treatments that are best for your unique needs.

Liver and Bile Duct Cancer and Liver Tumor Treatment

You have access to leading therapies. Your care may include minimally invasive surgical procedures as well as non-surgical options.

Your personalized care plan may include:

  • Surgery: Treatment may include complex procedures to remove cancer while also repairing the liver or bile duct so they can still function. Surgeons use minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopy, whenever possible. Read more about cancer surgery.
  • Ablation: We make a small incision and access the tumor using a thin instrument with a camera and other technologies at the tip. We then deliver gentle electrical currents to create scar tissue that destroys the tumor and prevents it from growing. Ablation may be right for you if you are not able to have surgery.
  • Chemoembolization (TACE): During this procedure, long tubes deliver cancer drugs and substances that disrupt blood flow directly to the tumor. This option is for small liver tumors. Find out more about chemotherapy and other medical oncology.
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment uses energy from radiation to break up cancer cells. We offer innovative options, including tiny seeds with a radioactive substance implanted in the tumor. External beam radiation uses a machine to deliver high-energy radiation to specific areas. Explore radiation therapy.