Interdisciplinary Liver Tumor Clinic

The Interdisciplinary Liver Tumor Clinic at Norris Cotton Cancer Center is the only clinic of its kind in New Hampshire.

Focus article photo

Norris Cotton Cancer Center's Interdisciplinary Liver Tumor Clinic brings specialists from many disciplines together to plan patient care. Pictured here (L to R) are Eric Martin, MD, general surgery; Dirk van Leeuwen, MD, PhD, gastroenterology; David Axelrod, MD, and Kerem Bortecen, MD, PhD, transplantation surgery.

It brings together specialists across disciplines—including hepatology, hepatobiliary and transplant surgery, medical and radiation oncology, interventional radiology, and palliative care—to offer patients with primary liver tumors the newest, most aggressive treatment, symptom management, and supportive care.

"We focus on caring for patients with primary liver tumors (benign or malignant tumors that originate in the liver), as well as advanced and recurrent liver cancer and end-stage liver disease," explains David Axelrod, MD, section chief of Transplantation Surgery at DHMC.

Through the use of new techniques and intensive treatment, patients with primary liver tumors can experience long-term survival and may even be cured. These techniques include minimally invasive treatments such as laparoscopic liver resections and radiofrequency ablation (RFA), targeted chemotherapy and radiation, and a new drug called Sorafenib, as well as maximally invasive treatments like surgical resection and transplantation.

The Liver Tumor Clinic's interdisciplinary approach helps to ensure that difficult diagnoses and treatment options are shared appropriately with patients and their families. "We're very sensitive to fact that we have a wide spectrum of patients coming through our door, ranging from those who may be quite knowledgeable about their condition and prognosis to those who may be hearing about those things for the first time," says Deborah Lindberg, RN, who is nurse manager for the clinic. "Our goal is to make them feel as comfortable as possible and to ensure that things flow smoothly for them."

April 27, 2008