Advanced care for liver cancer

At Sky Ridge Medical Center, our multidisciplinary team of liver cancer specialists diagnose and treat all types of liver cancer using advanced therapies and techniques.

Liver cancer care services and treatment

Treatment for liver cancer varies. In some cases, a liver transplant is necessary. In other cases, a transplant is not possible and a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or biologic therapy is used.

At Sky Ridge, we offer liver cancer patients access to the newest, minimally invasive treatments available, including radioembolization for patients with inoperable liver tumors.

Our patients can expect a variety of cancer care services, including:

  • Access to liver cancer clinical research trials
  • Cancer registry for lifetime follow up
  • Cancer Resource Center for support and education
  • Focus on minimally invasive interventional radiology therapies such as radioembolization for the treatment of liver tumors
  • Infusion services for chemotherapy treatment
  • Multidisciplinary, team approach to care
  • On-site radiation oncology services
  • Weekly cancer case conference for medical teams

Our liver cancer care team

The liver cancer care team at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Sky Ridge is comprised of experts from multiple specialties, including:

  • Medical oncologists
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Interventional radiologists
Award-winning interventional radiologist Dr. Charles Nutting

Dr. Charles Nutting, an interventional radiologist, and Sky Ridge were awarded the Sirtex Center of Excellence designation recognizing the top performing hospitals and physicians that offer SIR-Spheres microspheres therapy to patients with inoperable liver tumors. Our team was selected for its dedication to the practice of interventional oncology and the quality of care that we provide.

Dr. Nutting has also been honored with the Ocular Melanoma Humanitarian Award from the Melanoma Research Foundation. Pictured at right, Dr. Charles Nutting is among just a handful of American physicians who perform these life-extending procedures.

Liver cancers we treat

Whether your liver cancer is primary, secondary or another type, our dedicated team of liver cancer specialists can help you through the diagnosis and treatment process. Types of liver cancer include:

  • Primary liver cancer
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer)
  • Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma
  • Hepatoblastoma
  • Secondary liver cancer

Primary liver cancer

Primary liver cancer, also called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is cancer of the hepatocytes, which are the main type of cells found in the liver. This is the most common form of liver cancer affecting adults. HCC can be found as a single tumor that grows larger or as many spots throughout the liver.

Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer)

Also known as bile duct cancer because the cancer starts in the small tubes (bile ducts) that carry bile to the gallbladder, bile duct cancer accounts for one or two out of every 10 cases of liver cancer.

Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma

Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma are rare cancers that start in the blood vessels of the liver. These tumors are known to grow very quickly.

Hepatoblastoma

A very rare form of liver tumors affecting children ages four and under. Outcomes are good when the tumors are found early. Treatment for hepatoblastoma may include surgery and chemotherapy.

Secondary liver cancer

This is metastatic cancer that has spread from another location in the body to the liver. Therefore, the cancer did not start in the liver, but possibly in the breast, colon, lung or other area of the body.

Minimally invasive liver cancer treatment

Sky Ridge is proud to be one of only a few hospitals in the nation to offer some of the most advanced minimally invasive procedures for liver cancer patients.

Radioembolization for treatment of liver tumors

Sky Ridge utilizes the Yttrium-90 SIR-Spheres® Microspheres Radioembolization for inoperable live tumors. In simpler terms, what Dr. Nutting does is maneuver a catheter into a patient's liver artery and release a high dose of radioactivity designed to minimize the growth of a tumor—and add more than a year to the life expectancy of patients with liver cancer.

Dr. Nutting has performed more than 200 of these procedures, originally in Phoenix—where he was the first in the nation to perform the operation—and now at Sky Ridge Medical Center.

How the procedure works

Yttrium-90 SIR-Spheres microspheres treatment can help treat liver tumors and liver cancer

Dr. Nutting inserts a catheter into an artery in the groin (pictured below), and maneuvers it up and into the liver, near the cancer tumor. He then releases up to 80 million microscopic beads or microspheres (pictured at left) — each one about the size of four red blood cells— and all of them radioactive.

The next step is to let nature take its course. Tumor cells tend to be hungrier than other cells, and will reliably "consume" 15 times more beads than any other tissue.

That heavy dose of radiation attacks the cancer and suppresses it, at least for a while.

Radioembolization with chemotherapy Femoral Artery Near the Groin for Microcatheter Insertion

When first introduced, this therapy was used only as a last resort, after all other therapies had been ruled out. Now, says Dr. Nutting, it's used in conjunction with systematic chemotherapy to extend a patient's life by as much as 14 months.

This pioneering work at Sky Ridge is being studied to learn the most effective ways to employ this method throughout the rest of the country.

Related Physicians

    Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

    As a member of the Sarah Cannon Cancer Network of Excellence, our family of hospitals features leading-edge cancer treatment and clinical trials. Sarah Cannon offers modern therapies for people facing cancer across the U.S., and our partnership provides patients with personal, individualized care while benefiting from the network of resources Sarah Cannon has to offer.

    askSARAH helpline

    Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Sky Ridge Medical Center is pleased to offer access to askSARAH, a dedicated helpline designed to help answer your cancer-related questions. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with cancer or have questions about screenings, signs or symptoms, a registered askSARAH nurse can help. Committed to ensuring you have the right resources close to home, our nurses are available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (303) 253-3225 to connect directly to a nurse who can help you today.