If you look at it “by the numbers,” liver cancer is still a huge problem in America, and one that can look worse than it is if you focus on the numbers themselves. For example, look at some of these statistics, gathered from American Cancer Society websites:
- Liver cancer is the fifth-largest major cause of cancer-related death in the US.
- The percentage of Americans developing liver cancer has risen steadily for several decades.
- In 2015, about 35,660 new cases will be diagnosed – 71% male, 29% female.
- About 24,550 people from this group (69% male, 31% female) will die of these cancers.
- Liver cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women and the fifth most common in men.
- It has the fastest-growing death rate of all cancers treated in the US.
Why these statistics don’t tell the whole story about treating liver cancer in Dallas
It is tempting – especially if you have been diagnosed with liver cancer – to focus on numbers like the one above and feel more than a little depressed. But these numbers, although accurate, don’t convey the total picture of liver cancer and the advancements being made every day in diagnosing and treating it.
The primary reason that death rates for liver cancer are so high is that at present most cases are not detected at an early stage, when surgical options could lead to a cure. By the time someone has symptoms and goes to a doctor, their cancer is often at an advanced stage – fewer than 10% of all cases are diagnosed early enough to make surgery feasible. As medical technology advances, we should be able to catch liver cancer earlier, when is more easily treatable.
The numbers for liver cancer “survival rates” are equally misleading
You may hear doctors talk about “survival rates” with regard to some cancers, using terms such as “1 year survival rate” and “5 year survival rate.” This language is unfortunate and is generally misunderstood by non-medical people, because it refers to how research studies on cancer are handled and monitored, not how individual cases are treated.
For example, there have been research studies that indicate that only 15-25% of patients survive for over five years after having surgery to treat their liver cancer. However, those rates can climb to between 50-65% if the tumors are small, and are treated with minimally-invasive interventional radiology (IR) procedures. So your prognosis as a liver cancer patient depends on many things, and very few of them appear in “the numbers” you see on general cancer websites.
Rather than being concerned about statistics, focus on how the cancer is being treated, and where
Statistics tend to be based on large numbers of patients and large numbers of cancer hospitals, and can miss the benefits of working with one of the best cancer hospitals in North Texas, and with a team of doctors such as MTV IR, who are widely considered to be some of the best interventional radiology doctors in Dallas.
At MTV IR, we specialize in the advanced interventional oncology procedures that target the 90% of liver cancer patients who are not immediate candidates for traditional invasive surgery. The minimally-invasive procedures our Dallas interventional oncology specialists specialize in are a perfect match for the treatment of liver cancer, because they allow direct treatment of tumors that cannot be removed surgically or via systemic chemotherapy. The treatments we specialize in provide a more focused treatment of liver cancers, without exposing the rest of the body to the chemotherapy drugs or to radiation. So if you are dealing with liver cancer and trying to select a team of doctors to help you fight it, we recommend that you spend some time looking over our website at http://www.mtvir.com/ or give us a call at 469-447-4008. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.