Each year more than 42,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and up to half of those may experience the cancer spreading to the liver. This is known as secondary liver cancer, as it first develops elsewhere in the body and then spreads (metastasises) to the liver.
Liver surgery or ‘resection’ – where the cancerous parts of the liver are removed surgically – remains the only potential ‘cure’ for secondary liver cancer. Surgeons may be able to remove up to approximately 75% of the liver in some patients and the remaining liver may regenerate.
Historically, only a small proportion (around 20%) of patients with secondary liver cancer were able to be operated on. Today it is possible to use chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant). Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is used to shrink liver secondaries. About 50% of the patients who respond to this treatment, will then be able to have liver surgery.
‘Liver Surgery’ is a 10 minute film which features secondary liver cancer patient Frank undergoing treatment at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital in the care of Hepatobiliary Director and Consultant Hepatobiliary Surgeon Myrddin Rees. The film is courtesy of Lynn Faulds Wood, TV presenter and herself a former bowel cancer sufferer, and is part of her Lynn’s Helpful Videos series.