Patients with Liver Cancer more Likely to be on Transplant Wait List

April 3, 2012

The Daily Pennsylvanian

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that patients with both liver disease and a certain kind of liver cancer are eight times less likely to die than those who just suffer from the disease. The reason, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine, is that patients with both illnesses may receive an unfair advantage on the organ transplant wait list. “The current list is heavily oriented toward who’s sickest, who’s more likely to die,” said Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of the Center for Bioethics. “I think this study is surprising because many think those with liver cancer are very sick, and this study shows that those with both liver failure and cancer aren’t necessarily sicker,” he added. On the national wait list, patients with the disease “are ranked according to how likely they are to die,” explained David Goldberg, MD, an instructor in the department of Gastroenterology, who authored the new study. “They can develop liver cancer. They may not be as ‘sick,’ but they can be moved up the list.” Read More

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