Liver Cancer Overview

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Treating Liver Cancer TOPICS

How is liver cancer treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

Making treatment decisions

After liver cancer is found and staged, your doctor will talk to you about treatment options. Choosing a treatment plan is a big decision. Take time and think about all of your choices.

You may have different types of doctors on your treatment team. These doctors may include:

  • A surgeon: a doctor who treats diseases with surgery.
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation.
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy.
  • A gastroenterologist: a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the digestive system, including the liver.

Many other experts may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and others.

When planning your treatment, it is important to take into account the stage (extent) of the cancer and how well your liver is working. But you and your cancer care team will also want to think about your age, general state of health, and personal preferences.

Based on these factors, treatment options may include:

If time permits, it might be a good idea to get a second opinion, especially from a doctor experienced in treating liver cancer. A second opinion can give you more information and help you feel more certain about the treatment plan you pick.

Last Medical Review: 11/19/2014
Last Revised: 01/13/2015