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Liver Cancer Specialist

Atlas Oncology

Robert B. Donoway, M.D., FACS

Nanoknife Surgeon located in Hollywood, FL

Liver Cancer


Your risk for liver cancer is higher if you’re a man, you have cirrhosis, or you have hepatitis B, but anyone can develop the disease. Robert Donoway, MD, FACS, at Atlas Oncology has extensive experience treating liver cancer, including performing an innovative procedure called NanoKnife® irreversible electroporation (IRE). If you’ve been told your liver cancer is inoperable, you still have hope with the NanoKnife procedure. To learn more, call the office in Hollywood, Florida, or book an appointment online.

Liver Cancer Q & A

What should I know about liver cancer?

Your liver is located in the upper right area of your abdomen, just above your stomach. Several types of cancer may develop in the liver, but the most common one is called hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocellular cancer may begin as a single tumor, but in patients with liver damage such as cirrhosis, it more often starts as several nodules.

It’s more common to develop cancer in another part of the body that spreads to the liver than it is for cancer to originate in the liver.

What symptoms might I develop if I have liver cancer?

Like most types of cancer, liver cancer doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stages. As the tumor grows and begins to affect surrounding tissues or to interfere with normal liver function, you’ll experience symptoms such as:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Jaundice (yellow discoloration of your skin and eyes)
  • White, chalky stools

If you’re at a higher risk of liver cancer due to cirrhosis or a chronic hepatitis B infection, your doctor may run blood tests or perform ultrasound imaging to screen for liver cancer.

How is liver cancer treated?

Your treatment depends on whether the cancer has spread and if it can be surgically removed. Conventional treatment options include:

  • Liver cancer surgery (tumor removal or liver transplant)
  • Tumor ablation (uses radiofrequency, alcohol, microwave, or cryotherapy to destroy the tumor)
  • Embolization therapy (stops blood flow to the tumor)
  • Radiation therapy (high-energy radiation kills cancer cells)
  • Targeted therapy (drugs used to stop the formation of blood vessels supplying the tumor)
  • Immunotherapy (boosts your body’s immune response to fight cancer)

Treatments such as ablation, embolization, and radiation therapy can also cause significant harm to the surrounding tissues. Radiation also damages healthy liver tissue. Chemotherapy isn’t the top option, because liver cancer doesn’t respond well to systemic chemo.

What is NanoKnife IRE?

NanoKnife IRE is another type of ablation that’s uniquely effective because it destroys the liver tumor without harming the surrounding tissue. The NanoKnife is a device that uses narrow, needle-like electrodes to treat the tumor.

Dr. Donoway inserts the electrodes around the liver tumor, then activates them so they create an electrical field. The electrical field permanently damages the tumor cells, which makes them die. The electrical field is confined between the electrodes, so tissues outside the tumor aren’t affected.

Since the NanoKnife is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t need any type of incision, your time in the hospital is short, you have less pain, and your recovery is quick.

If you have questions about innovative options for treating liver cancer, call Atlas Oncology or book an appointment online.