Questions to Ask About Liver Cancer

It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. They want to answer all of your questions, so that you can make informed treatment and life decisions. Here are some questions to consider:

When you’re told you have liver cancer

  • What kind of liver cancer do I have?
  • Has the cancer spread beyond my liver?
  • What is the stage of my cancer?
  • How well is my liver working?
  • Will I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Will I need to see other doctors or health professionals?
  • If I’m concerned about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?

When deciding on a treatment plan

  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • What is the goal of the treatment?
  • Can the cancer be removed with surgery?
  • Will I need a liver transplant?
  • Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
  • What risks or side effects should I expect? How long are they likely to last?
  • How quickly do we need to decide on treatment?
  • Should I think about taking part in a clinical trial?
  • How soon do I need to start treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • Will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • What will we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?

During treatment

Once treatment begins, you’ll need to know what to expect and what to look for. Not all of these questions may apply to you, but asking the ones that do may be helpful.

  • How will we know if the treatment is working?
  • Is there anything I can do to help manage side effects?
  • What symptoms or side effects should I tell you about right away?
  • How can I reach you on nights, holidays, or weekends?
  • Do I need to change what I eat during treatment?
  • Are there any limits on what I can do?
  • Will my treatment affect my daily activities?
  • Can I exercise during treatment? If so, what can I do, and how often?
  • Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, or distressed?
  • What if I need social support during treatment because my family lives far away?

After treatment

  • Will I need a special diet after treatment?
  • Are there limits on what I can do?
  • What symptoms should I watch for?
  • What kind of exercise can I do now?
  • How often will I need to have follow-up exams and tests?
  • How will we know if the cancer has come back? What should I watch for?
  • What will my options be if the cancer comes back?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

In addition to these examples, you might want to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want more information about recovery times.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: April 1, 2019 Last Revised: April 1, 2019

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