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Cancer

Metatastic Liver Cancer Treatment

01/04/2008

Question:

My husband was diagnosed with liver cancer the end of October following bloodwork, ultrasound and catscan showing multiple lesions. A liver biopsy did not reveal the source. A colonoscopy showed no problems there so MD believes source is pancreas but no way to confirm this as source. He has had 4 chemotherapy treatments but is suffering 24/7 from the liver not functioning. He has lost 50 pounds and has not been able to eat anything for a month. Isn`t there something that can be done to help the liver function to give him some relief and the ability to get some nutrition? I see my husband literally starving to death.

Answer:

This is something you should address with your oncologist.

In general, there are several medications which he could take which may have an effect to increase his appetite. These are commonly used by most cancer specialists.

In addition, sometimes we place a small tube into the stomach, via the nose, to place special liquid nutriments directly into the stomach.

In terms of your question about anything to give to help liver function, that is a very tough one to answer. In general, no, we really do not have much to help the liver function better. If it were the meds (chemo) making the liver sick, then the logical thing to do would be to take the patient off of those medications. Despite all advances in medical science, we have little in our "black bag" to help improve liver function.

By the way, has your husband had an endoscopic ultrasound to look at his pancreas?? This is a great tool for looking at small tumors in the pancreas.

I hope that this helps you.

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Response by:

Steven  M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS Steven M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS
Formerly
Professor of Surgery, Director of Liver Transplat and Hepatobiliary Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati