Liver Cancer

The health risks associated with alcohol use are well known. A drink once in a while is fine, but excessive drinking can lead to serious health problems.

Bruce Werner is reflective and appreciative when he thinks about his life. “Cancer is something I’ll probably die with but not die from. I’ve had a great life and I’ve been able to hang out for the last 30 years with a beautiful, wonderful woman."
Ronald Bolander, 85 — husband, father, retired corporate executive, volunteer and four-time liver cancer survivor — has been cancer-free for seven years.

David Prince, now 76, recalls the wonderful road trips he took with his family when he was a child. “My father had a fascination with visiting cemeteries, and I remember being impressed by the lists of accomplishments that filled row after row of tombstones.”

Fatty liver disease is an accumulation of fat in liver cells. Although it hasn’t been identified as a direct cause of liver cancer or other life-threatening diseases, fatty liver disease is associated with other health problems, including an increased risk of some cancers or cardiovascular disease.

Hepatitis C is the most common blood-transmitted virus in the United States and the leading cause of liver cancer worldwide.

February 14, known to many as Valentine’s Day, is also World Cholangiocarcinoma Day, an international effort to raise awareness about a very rare but aggressive type of cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer is increasing, making primary liver (and bile duct) cancer the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Experts attribute this to the high prevalence of fatty liver disease, a condition associated with insulin resistance, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

In April 2016, a “spot” was discovered on Bonnie Hewett’s liver during a pelvic examination. “It was really found by fluke,” says Bonnie. Her internist advised her to have the spot checked out and Bonnie turned to Roswell Park.

While no one wants to think about the big “C” word when faced with an unknown medical ailment, it’s important for patients with abnormalities of the liver to rule out cancer. Prompt, accurate diagnosis is the first step to any successful treatment.