How is liver cancer treated?
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:
- Other local treatments, such as ablation or embolization
- Targeted therapy
- some cases, doctors may recommend more than one of these treatments. It is important to discuss all of your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. It’s also very important to ask questions if there is anything you’re not sure about. You can find some good questions to ask in the section, “What should you ask your doctor about liver cancer?”
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: 01/15/2016