Om Hepatobiliary Cancer
When one deals with cancer, the hepatobiliary malignancies present a chal- lenge to the oncologists that can be characterized as a series of unsolved clinical and biological dilemmas. Liver metastases from colorectal and other gastrointestinal malignancies, hepatocellular carcinoma, cholangiocar- cinoma, and gall bladder cancer present an array of problems but have two features in common. These are high morbidity and mortality with an overall poor result from treatment. Why is it that hepatobiliary cancer carries with it such a dismal prognosis? First of all, these diseases present, for the most part, in an advanced state. To this point in time the oncologist has had no help from early diagnosis or screening. Only the occasional patient followed by ultrasound or a tumor marker has the disease diagnosed in an asymptomatic state. By the time these diseases become symptomatic, curative treatment options have usually disappeared. Evolution has placed the liver in a protected position in order to avoid injury to the soft parenchyma. As with many other internal organs, the nerve supply is extremely limited. These two anatomic features result in a great lack of early warning signs of cancer.