Hello, Linda, and welcome to the forum, though I'm sorry for your reason for being here. The good news is that your other half has been sober for 4 yrs. That really is a huge plus. If you've read some of my posts, you know that I am a liver cancer survivor. I will have been in remission 4 yrs. in May.
First, I would want to know how many lesions there are and the size of the largest. This determines the treatment and outcome. Regular systemic chemo doesn't work for liver cancer, so they have to target the tumors directly. They will undoubtedly do chemoembolization, which injects chemo into the tumors and cuts off circulation to the tumors and shrinks them. Sometimes alcohol injection is also used.
Next, where are the tumors located? Are they all within one lobe? If so, there is the possibility of surgical removal. Also ask if they use TheraSphere. At the time it was given to me at Mayo in '06, it was a study drug and I was patient #2. Transplant is sometimes used, but the success rate is not very high.
I would also want to know if the current hep C treatment should be stopped, if it hasn't been already. I would think it would be stopped so as not to interfere with cancer treatment.
I'm really sorry that your loved one has been diagnosed, but I'm living proof that there is hope. Hep C and cirrhosis CAN lead to liver cancer. I knew this was possible, but didn't believe it would happen to me--until it did. It's a lot to swallow, but keep a positive attitude and don't give up. If you get no satisfactory treatment or answers, go somewhere else!
Our thoughts and prayers are with you both. Please keep us informed.
Post Edited (hep93) : 4/5/2010 6:19:23 PM (GMT-6)
Linda, the LC beads are in a compound that will be injected into selected vessels that are feeding the tumors, which will shrink them. You might want to ask about the possibility of excision of the rt. lobe of the liver (which is what I had done.) This completely eliminates the tumors. You need to find out the name of his surgeon and his hepatologist and also if he has been evaluated for transplant. That seems to be the direction they want to go in.
My prayers are with you and your other half. Keep us posted!
Linda, they were probably referring to the surgical removal of the tumors, which is understandable. There's no reason the rt. lobe couldn't be removed from what you've told me. However, if they want to pursue the possibility of transplant instead, I'm sure they have their reasons. He will need a complete evaluation by a transplant team, including multiple scans, blood work, and a psychological evaluation. Then, if his MELD score is high enough, he will be listed on UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing. It is a long process. One step at a time.
My sister came from SC to be with me during the chemoembolization and a few days afterwards at home. I slept almost the entire time she was there.
My thoughts will be with you guys.
Linda, I also have hep C (diagnosed in '93 and tried interferon but couldn't take it) and cirrhosis. I was not considered a candidate for transplant because the large tumor I had had metastasized into the inferior vena cava (large vessel that runs off the liver.) For whatever reason, they decided to excise the rt. lobe after the tumor had shrunk and then died (along with the rt. lobe.) The left lobe has actually grown some in response to the missing rt. lobe. Perhaps age played a factor, though aside from artificial hips and the liver problems, I'm in good health. However, I was told by the surgeon that if the cancer returns, I would need a transplant. My hepatologist disagrees and says they will catch it early enough to be able to successfully treat it. They continue to scan me every 3-6 mos.
One thing we can all agree on is that the chemoembolization is the first logical step. It does take awhile for the outcome to be known, though (perhaps about 4-6 wks.)
If he hasn't gone through a complete evaluation (including psychological testing) at the transplant center, then I doubt he is on the transplant list yet. Considering the cancer status, perhaps they can bypass some of that and list him directly. Be sure to write down questions you want to ask.
David, are you out there? Rick? Anyone who has gone through it? I haven't, just have knowledge from what I've read. I do know that they do extensive testing, including psychological. Then the MELD score is calculated from his labs, plus whatever points they add for the cancer, and the total score will depend on his placement on the transplant list (low or high...or at all.) Blood type also plays a part.
Linda, I am really glad to hear that your hubby did well with the chemoembolization and that transplant evaluation has been scheduled for this month!
Please continue to keep us posted!
David, on your followups at MGH, have they suggested hep C treatment at all, even for "down the road," after you've had a chance to fully recover? Or do they (and you) feel that it will take so long for the virus to damage the new liver that it's not necessary (considering your age.)
David, I feel the same way about Mayo. I trust them implicitly. But I also want to know the details. For some, though, it can be very confusing and just complicate things...as we often see here. It makes sense that the focus would be on your new liver's function.