The number of people dying from liver failure or liver cancer related to chronic viral hepatitis C and B, may increase 2-3 fold by 2020. Currently there are over 4,000,000 people with chronic hepatitis C and 2,000,000 people with chronic hepatitis B in the United States who can benefit from treatment. In New Jersey there are over 135,000 people with hepatitis C and 65,000 people with hepatitis B. This will cause a needless, overwhelming and unachievable demand on the need for liver transplantation. Untreated, the of people diagnosed with liver cancer may double over the next 10-15 years. This does not include cirrhosis from fatty liver disease due to obesity. By 2025 fatty liver disease related cirrhosis will be the leading cause of liver failure in the United States. By that time there will be at least 2,500,000 people in the United States with cirrhosis. Recent advances in HCV treatment now allow 9 out of 10 patients to successsfully be cured of their infection.

The Center for Liver Disease and Cancer Care at St. Joseph's Medical Center: Multidisciplinary Treatment and Surgical Care

Stacks Image 468

Hepatic Elastography is a special type of ultrasound that can identify patients with advanced liver damage (cirrhosis) who need routine liver cancer testing.

Hepatic elastography is available at St Joseph's Outpatient Radiology located at
1135 Broad St, Clifton New Jersey

Call 973-569-6300 for more information and an appointment

Support Senate bill No. 1279 requiring hospitals and health care professionals to offer hepatitis C testing to patients born between 1945 and 1965

American Association for the Study of Liver Disease HCV Guidelines

The Center for Liver Disease and Cancer Care at St. Joseph's Medical Center is dedicated to advocacy, education, prevention, multi-disciplinary treatment, advanced surgery, advanced interventional radiology, clinical trials and scientific development of better therapies. To reduce the health burden of liver disease, we need to find and treat those afflicted by liver disease, and advocate lifestyles that promote good health and prevent liver damage.

There are over 60,000 people in New Jersey with cirrhosis. For each person recieving a liver transplant, there are 500-1000 people with cirrhosis and continued risk for liver cancer or liver failure. The number of organ donors will remain mostly unchanged. Undiagnosed, the number of people with liver failure will grow, resulting in more patients dying while awaiting liver transplant. As the distribution of donor livers has been prioritized to patients with a MELD score greater than 35, a large void exists for patients with a MELD less than 25. This largely affects patients with early liver cancer, poorly controlled ascites and poorly controlled encephalopathy. Live donor liver transplant is a viable option for these patients, who are still clearly in need of a liver transplant.

Early diagnosis and treatment of chronic viral hepatitis can eradicate infection and reduce the risk of liver failure and liver cancer. Currently the average cost of a liver transplant is $285,000 to $315,000. Although liver transplant is life saving, there is a great need to improve early diagnosis and treatment to more effectively deal with this epidemic. Unfortunately 70-80 percent of people with hepatitis C or B are not diagnosed. Now is the time to find infected patients with hepatitis C and get them into treatment.

Similarly, 70-80 percent of patients diagnosed with liver cancer are not curable, and will die within 5 years of diagnosis. The biggest barrier to improving survival is most people are diagnosed too late. There is a great need to identify people who may benefit from routine liver cancer screening.

Andrew N. de la Torre MD, FACS
Director Liver Surgery and Cancer Care
St. Joseph's Medical Center

Maliha Ahmad MD
Director of Liver Disease Services
St. Joseph's Medical Center