Liver Cancer is on the Rise in the United States

The percentage of Americans developing liver cancer has been rising slowly for several decades.  The American Cancer Society estimates that about 35,660 new cases (25,510 in men and 10,150 in women) will be diagnosed in the United States in 2015 and about 24,550 people (17,030 men and 7,520 women) will die of these cancers. 

Several risk factors, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc., and an increase in unhealthy lifestyle choices, are being attributed to the rise of liver cancer. 

The liver is the largest internal organ in the human body, and one of the most vital to life, so it is important to keep it healthy and disease free.  It is responsible for over 500 functions, including the secretion of glucose, proteins, vitamins, and fats; the production of bile; the processing of hemoglobin; and detoxification of numerous substances. 

Treating liver cancer with radiation therapy can sometimes be a challenge because liver tumors move with respiration.  In addition, the tissue surrounding the liver tumors is very sensitive and can be easily damaged.  

At San Francisco CyberKnife, we treat liver cancer with the CyberKnife Radiosurgery System®.  CyberKnife is able to deliver very high doses of radiation to both primary and metastatic liver tumors with extreme accuracy.  Working in conjunction with the CyberKnife System is the Synchrony® Respiratory Tracking System, which enables the radiation beam to track tumor movement in real time and allows patients to breathe normally during their treatment sessions.  CyberKnife allows physicians to zero in on a moving target – the liver tumor – and irradiate it while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.  As a result, the CyberKnife treatment is more comfortable for patients, radiation is delivered more accurately, and treatments can be completed in one to five sessions.  

For more information on liver cancer, please visit the American Liver Foundation.  To find out more about how CyberKnife treats liver cancer, and watch a CyberKnife patient education video on liver cancer, please click here.