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Dumont - UCLA Liver Cancer Center

Frequently asked questions


Indications & Contraindications

Description of Clinical Program
The Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center offers comprehensive care for liver cancer patients, providing a powerful combination of clinical treatment and medical research. Physicians in the multidisciplinary consortium draw on the collective expertise of hepatologists, oncologists, radiologists, radiation therapists, pathologists, and surgeons from UCLA and the southern California community. Our goal is to take the national lead in current treatment modalities, as well as in oncology research and treatment for the future.

Liver Cancer: A Major Clinical Problem
The most common tumor worldwide, liver cancer is an international public health issue. The incidence of liver cancer is rising rapidly in the United States, due in part to the increasing prevalence of Hepatitis B and C. The Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center is exclusively devoted to treatment of patients with these tumors.

At present, the best treatment for liver cancer is surgical, including both resection and transplantation, depending on the location of the tumors and the underlying liver disease. Our surgical team includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who specialize in liver operations and perioperative care. This team also staffs the Dumont-UCLA Liver Transplant Center, the largest liver transplant center in the world.

The Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center houses a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, and healthcare professionals dedicated to the treatment of patients with liver cancers. Team members include specialists in medical oncology, hepatology, radiology (interventional and diagnostic), radiation therapy, and pathology.

In addition to surgical treatment, patients at the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center have access to all of the diagnostic and therapeutic modalities currently utilized in the treatment of liver cancer, including:
-Chemotherapy (standard and experimental)
-Locoregional therapy (chemoembolization, radiofrequency ablation, ethanol ablation, cryosurgery, and experimental)
-Radiation therapy
-Newer imaging modalities

Following an initial visit with our doctors, every patient is discussed thoroughly at the multidisciplinary hepatobiliary tumor board to assure that all therapeutic options are explored in great detail.

Hope for the Future
Clinical trials conducted through the center offer the latest investigational therapy to patients with tumors previously deemed incurable. Given the current poor prognosis for liver cancer -- nationally, the survival rate is only 10 percent -- new treatments must be developed in the laboratory and brought to preclinical testing and clinical trials with all possible expediency.

Researchers at the Center are testing agents that target the biological mechanism of carcinogenesis, specifically killing cancer cells rather than all rapidly producing cells, as do commonly administered chemotherapy agents.

The Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center laboratories are devoted exclusively to the study of hepatobiliary tumors with the goal of continually generating new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of these tumors.

Patient Evaluation
Patients referred to the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center are evaluated in the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center clinic, where outpatient visits are held once a week. The clinic is located at 200 UCLA Medical Plaza, across the street from the main UCLA Medical Center. In more urgent cases, patients can be transferred to UCLA Medical Center 24 hours a day.

During the first consultation, the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center physicians will examine the patient and discuss plans for further evaluation and follow-up. Following the consultation, the case will be discussed with the referring physician as well as at the bi-monthly multidisciplinary hepatobiliary tumor board in order to formulate an individualized treatment strategy.

Subsequent diagnostic testing can be arranged either at the center from which the patient was referred or at UCLA Medical Center, depending on the nature of the examination and the preferences of the referring physician and patient. Depending upon the patient's functional status and treatment plan, pre-operative evaluations by consulting physicians may be arranged either at the referring center or at UCLA Medical Center.

Role of the Referring Physician
Each referring physician will be contacted by phone following the initial patient evaluation and will receive a written consultation by a faculty member. If additional tests are required and then obtained at UCLA Medical Center, these results also will be forwarded to the referring physician.

Throughout the patient's evaluation and treatment at UCLA, the referring physician remains the primary physician and may request the collaboration of the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center faculty and staff to any degree desired. Referring physician and case managers will be frequently updated on the patient's status.

While most patients will require follow-up, it is the referring physician who will decide where these activities should take place. Faculty and staff at the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center are available to serve as consultants at any time.

Referral Guidelines
Any patients with known or suspected hepatobiliary tumors -malignant or benign- are candidates for referral. Common indications include:
Hepatocellular carcinoma
Gall bladder cancer
Metastatic tumors
Focal nodular hyperplasia
Hepatic adenoma
Hepatic cyst

How to Refer a Patient
Physicians may refer patients to the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center by calling (310) 825-1412. Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center staff will obtain initial information during this conversation and will schedule an appointment for the patient. Faculty members or our clinical nurse coordinator will then contact the referring physician or case manager to exchange additional information and to make any special arrangements needed prior to the patient's evaluation. Physicians are also available for questions regarding current clinical trials and the latest advances in the evaluation and management of hepatobiliary tumors.

All outpatients referred to the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center will be scheduled immediately for evaluation and will be seen within seven days of the initial referral. The Center will accept hospitalized patients for transfer with priority given to the most urgent cases. Emergency or urgent transfers can be arranged 24 hours a day by calling (310) 825-6301 and requesting the liver nurse coordinator on call.

Liver and Pancreas

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