Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are among the most complex malignancies to treat; often, patients present with advanced disease and survival rates tend to be low. In 2005, a small group of hepatobiliary surgeons at Penn State Hershey Medical Center came together and formed the Liver, Pancreas, and Foregut Tumor Program to deliver state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary care for this difficult to treat patient population. The group has grown over the years to include four hepatobiliary surgeons: Kevin Staveley O’Carroll, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Liver, Foregut and Pancreas Program; Niraj J. Gusani, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.; Jussuf T. Kaifi, M.D., Ph.D.; and Eric T. Kimchi, M.D., F.A.C.S.
The multidisciplinary and coordinated nature of the program is unique to the central Pennsylvania region. Patients admitted into the program receive coordinated care from a team of surgeons, gastroenterologists, hepatologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, geneticists, and psychiatrists. Diagnostic questions are optimally clarified by modalities such as endoscopic ultrasound and computed tomography, with expert gastrointestinal pathologists providing immediate interpretation when biopsy procedures are necessary, resulting in high diagnostic accuracy with less repeat procedures. Such facets of the program allow surgeons to optimally address the challenges of tumor removal in these cases. Continue reading