Tag Archives: hepatitis C
Boxer Joe Frazier Dies of Liver Cancer

Boxer Joe Frazier Dies of Liver Cancer

Liver Cancer

It was announced that boxer Joe Frazier died of liver cancer. The 67 year old boxer was reported to have a “short” bout with liver cancer that ended his life quickly.

As of this morning, there is no mention as to they type of cancer that he suffered from. Liver cancer, also called hepatocellular carcinoma, or hepatoma, is cancer that originates in the liver, opposed to metastatic liver cancer that starts elsewhere, and then spreads to the liver. Colon and breast cancer are two cancers that commonly spread to the liver.

Primary liver cancer in the majority of cases is related to underlying chronic liver disease, caused by chronic viral hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Alcoholic liver disease is also a strong risk factor for developing hepatocellular carcinoma.

Treatment for liver cancer depends on the stage of the disease. In patients without cirrhosis and small tumors, surgical resection is a possible consideration. In those with advanced liver disease and cirrhosis, local therapy with chemotherapy, also known as transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), is usually the first line of therapy. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is an alternative option to locally treat the tumor. Liver transplantation, where the entire liver is removed, will be considered in those with signs of advanced liver disease or cirrhosis.

Recently, there has been FDA approval of Nexavar (sorafenib) for the treatment of liver cancer.

Nexavar® (sorafenib) tablets, is approved in more than 100 countries for the treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer, and for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or kidney cancer.

The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for primary liver cancer and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States are for 2010:

About 24,120 new cases (17,430 in men and 6,690 in women) will be diagnosed
About 18,910 people (12,720 men and 6,190 women) will die of these cancers
The percentage of Americans developing liver cancer has been rising slowly for several decades.

If you have any form of chronic liver disease, chronic alcoholism, chronic hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or cirrhosis, you need to be regularly screened for liver cancer. A blood test called alpha fetoprotein should be done at six month intervals, which tests for the presence of liver cancer, and imaging of the liver with either ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI should also be done at six month intervals. The development of a small tumor, should one develop, allows for the greatest chance that early treatment can be initiated and survival can be at its highest level.

I am currently at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco, and there is an enormous amount of research being presented on expanding therapies for liver cancer. Why Joe Frazier presented so late with his disease is a question we may never know for sure. While aggressive forms of liver cancer do exist, and in the best of situations there is little to do as a result of its rapid advancement. The more common story I see every day is one of lack of awareness, lack of screening, and a very late presentation.

Awareness of the presence of liver disease and appropriate screening saves lives.

Your feedback is welcomed.

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Boceprevir is FDA Approved:Now What?

Boceprevir is FDA Approved:Now What?

Now that Boceprevir is FDA approved, it seems that a big sigh of relief has been let out by both patients and physicians. Despite this great news and FDA success, the work now starts, evaluating and screening the thousands of patients that have been waiting for this day.

Here is my advice to all concerned patients:

  • I cannot stress the need to get your old records related to past HCV therapies. This will help assist us in how to best manage you on the three-drug combination.
  • Get the report from your most recent liver biopsy. The degree of damage, or lack of it, will be of great value when we discuss how to best treat you.
  • Have an up to date list of all your other medical condition, if this applies to you. Other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, depression, or cancer will allow us to modify treatment as needed-taylored specifically to you.
  • Have the names and phone numbers of all your treating physicians and health care providers. Communication with them is vital.

This is an exciting time for all of us. Call us if you have questions and concerns. We will be updating the blog and website daily. Stay tuned to these new development.

Now What Do We Do?

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Boceprevir Improved Hepatitis C Response in Genotype 1 Patients-Dr. Paul Kwo Interview

Dr. Paul Kwo was on Your Health First with Dr. Joe Galati this past Sunday evening, discussing the latest results published this past week in the medical journal Lancet, which discussed the new finding with the drug Boceprevir. The response rates in chronic hepatitis C, genotype 1, are significantly improved compared to standard of care therapy currently available.

Listen to the interview here.

Paul Kwo HCV Interview

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