Friday, December 8, 2006
Medical Reports: HEALTHCAST: Liver Cancer
Tonight there is new hope for patients whose cancer has spread to the liver. As 7's Christine Cruz tells us, doctors can now implant a palm-sized pump that delivers chemotherapy right to the tumor.
WSVN -- Jeff Campbell is thankful for every second he has with his wife Julie and daughter, Katelyn.
Jeff: "We are a very close family."
His tight-knit family thought they were going to lose him a few years ago. That's when Jeff was diagnosed with colon cancer, which spread to his liver. Once that happens, your chances of survival become slim.
Jeff: "All of the doctors said I would never see 100 percent remission. None of the doctors were very positive as far as my outlook."
Until now, patients like Jeff were treated with standard chemotherapy.
But only 25 percent of those drugs ever make it to the liver. Now, in a breakthrough treatment, doctors can go right to the source with a new chemo pump.
Dr. Mark Roh: "All 100 percent of that drug will be seen by the tumor in the liver."
The small pump, which is the size of a pace-maker, is implanted into the abdomen and powered by body heat.
It pumps cancer-killing drugs into the liver 24-7 and can stay in for months or even years at a time. Most patients never lose their hair or even experience nausea and vomiting.
One new study shows the pump significantly increases survival rates over standard chemo.
Dr. Mark Roh: "If we didn't have this opportunity for him, I don't think he would have survived. I mean, it saved his life."
Thanks to the pump, Jeff is in remission.
He and his wife are even expecting a baby boy.
Jeff: "I think I'm going to live a normal life just like everybody else. What am I looking forward to? Tomorrow."
The chemo pump isn't for everyone. It works best on patients whose cancer has spread to the liver, not cancer that started in the liver.
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