MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute Expands Complex Pancreatic & Liver Cancer Program

Organization: Service: Story Topics:
Cancer, Liver Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer

With the addition of liver and pancreatic surgeon Ronald Wolf, M.D., the Complex Pancreatic & Liver Cancer Program at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center has expanded to include advanced techniques for the most complex surgeries.

Based on the extent of pancreatic or liver cancer, surgery to remove part of all of the affected organ is often a primary treatment option. Dr. Wolf has extensive experience in procedures to treat pancreatic and liver cancer, such as a hepatectomy (removal of part of the liver) or the Whipple procedure, which is a complex operation to remove pancreatic cancers.

Because most pancreatic cancers occur in the head of the pancreas, during the Whipple procedure (pancreatoduodenectomy) the head of the pancreas is removed. However, because the pancreas is so integrated with other organs, the first part of small intestine, the gallbladder, the end of the common bile duct and sometimes a portion of the stomach also must be removed. In the reconstruction phase of the operation, the intestine, bile duct and remaining portion of the pancreas are reconnected.

Utilizing his expertise, Dr. Wolf performs this complex procedure and others using minimally invasive techniques by making small incisions in the abdominal wall. Traditional surgery requires a longer incision and wider opening of the abdomen, while minimally invasive procedures result in less pain, blood loss and scaring, as well as faster recovery times for patients.

In addition to surgery, the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute offers the latest in technology and minimally invasive approaches to diagnosing cancer. Long Beach Medical Center is one of the only hospitals in the region, and the only hospital in Long Beach, to offer interventional endoscopy to help diagnose and treat cancers early including endoscopic ultrasound.

When it comes to patient care, the dedicated team at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute believes in collaboration and partnership among specialties. Dr. Wolf will partner with the multi-disciplinary gastrointestinal team to help diagnose and treat patients with liver and pancreatic cancer.

Prior to joining the team at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Dr. Wolf served as the Director of Surgical Education at St. Vincent Medical Center and later Medical Director of Liver and Pancreas Surgery (HBP) at Good Samaritan Hospital.

During his training, Dr. Wolf completed a general surgery residency at the University of California, Davis, followed by fellowships in clinical research and surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

“Dr. Wolf’s training gives him the precise knowledge to address our patients from both a surgical and oncology perspective,” says Cathy Kopy, executive director, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Medical Center. “His expertise will elevate our gastrointestinal team as they work together to identify treatment plans that address the unique needs of each patient.”