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Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Oncology Overview

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that over 21,000 new cases of primary liver cancer and intrahepatic bile duct cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year alone. Tragically, the ACS projects over 18,000 of these individuals will die from this disease. When it comes to pancreatic cancer, the numbers are even higher. The ACS estimates that more than 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas during 2008, a disease that will claim more than 34,000 people, making it the fourth leading cause of cancer death overall.

Without question, a cancer diagnosis can be devastating news.

There is, however, new hope, thanks to the Pancreaticohepatobiliary Oncology Multidisciplinary Consultative Service at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. It is a unique new service that offers patients an innovative “second opinion” approach to the treatment of liver and pancreatic tumors.

To ensure the most comprehensive consultation, specialists request to review all prior diagnostic evaluations. Pathology slides from prior biopsies or surgeries are needed one week prior to the consultation for independent review by a Saint Francis pathologist. Also, all diagnostic imaging (CT scans, MRI’s PET scans) are requested from the patient (also received in advance) for review by the cancer specialists on the day of the consultation.

During the consultation, a patient meets individually with medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists – all in one day. At the end of the three consultations, patients meet again with one of the specialists for a brief summary discussion of their case. They are then informed as to the next recommended steps in the process.

“This offers a comprehensive, efficient, one-stop approach to a complicated problem,” said Dr. James Frank, Director of Surgical Oncology, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

Within 48 hours of the three initial consultations, patients and their referring physician will receive a written or phone call consensus evaluation with recommended treatments.

“With this type of comprehensive approach, our goal is to offer patients the best overall care for their specific needs as they face a difficult diagnosis,” concluded Dr. Frank. “A thorough evaluation presented in a timely manner gives our patients the information they need to make the best decisions.”

For more information on the: Pancreaticohepatobiliary Oncology Multidisciplinary Consultative Service at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center please call: 1-877-STFRANCIS.