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Liver Cancer

We’ll treat you with dignity and respect.

We’ll treat your cancer quite a bit differently. 

There’s little that can truly prepare you for the moment your doctor says it’s liver cancer.

Your diagnosis is undoubtedly accompanied by a flood of uncertainly and apprehension. But we want you to know there is hope. And help.

From the moment you’re diagnosed, we’ll walk alongside you, helping you navigate this new, unfamiliar and sometimes confusing chapter in your life. Throughout your Care Plan, we’ll marry the clinical with the compassionate, and provide you the precise care you need.

Liver Cancer Basics Treatments and Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is liver cancer and what causes it?

    A: Liver cancer develops from abnormal cells in the tissue of the liver. This is referred to as primary liver cancer, which is different from cancer that spreads to the liver, referred to as metastatic liver cancer. Most liver cancer is metastatic.

    Causes of primary liver cancer are generally unknown; however, it is known that some liver cancer results from chronic infection caused by certain hepatitis viruses and also cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Q: Is liver cancer treatable?

    A: Yes. There are different liver cancer treatment options that include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. How your liver cancer is treated will depend on the type and stage of your cancer. Additional factors determining the kind of treatment include your age and health. 

    Talk to your doctor about the stage of your liver cancer and how it will likely respond to treatment options.
  • Q: Does OhioHealth treat liver cancer?

    A: Yes. We provide liver cancer patients with the best care available in the battle of this serious disease. We have an experienced team of physicians from all specialties who offer state-of-the-art treatment.
  • Q: How serious is my liver cancer diagnosis?

    A: We understand this is the biggest question for someone newly diagnosed with any cancer. The answer you’re looking for, however, is individual to you, just as it is individual to other liver cancer patients, and so cannot be generalized in an FAQ. 

    It’s important to talk to your doctor about the seriousness of your liver cancer diagnosis with a friend or family member present to help you hear and remember the information your doctor shares with you. Ask your doctor to explain the stage your cancer is in and what that means for your treatment and recovery. Share with your doctor your fears and concerns.

    At OhioHealth, we have the advanced technology to diagnose and treat this disease. We have highly skilled and experienced physicians who know how to fight it.
  • Q: What are the different stages of liver cancer?


    What are the different stages of liver cancer?

    Staging is the process of determining the extent of the cancer, whether or not it has spread within the liver and/or outside of the liver to other organs. Staging is important in determining the type of treatment most appropriate for the cancer.

    The National Cancer Institute describes the stages of liver cancer in this way: 

    Stage I 
    In stage I, there is one tumor, and it has not spread to nearby blood vessels. 

    Stage II 
    In stage II, one of the following is found: One tumor that has spread to nearby blood vessels; or More than one tumor, none of which is larger than 5 centimeters 

    Stage III
    Stage III is divided into Stage IIIA, IIIB and IIIC.

    In Stage IIIA, one of the following is found:

    • More than one tumor larger than 5 centimeters; or
    • One tumor that has spread to a major branch of blood vessels near the liver.

    In Stage IIIB, there are one or more tumors of any size that have either:

    • Spread to nearby organs other than the gallbladder; or
    • Broken through the lining of the peritoneal cavity.

    In Stage IIIC, the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. 

    Stage IV 
    In Stage IV, cancer has spread beyond the liver to other places in the body, such as the bones or lungs. The tumors may be of any size and may also have spread to nearby blood vessels and/or lymph nodes.

    Recurrence: This is cancer that has been treated and has returned after a period of time when the cancer could not be detected. The disease may return in the liver or in another part of the body. 

    Liver cancer is also staged by how the cancer may be treated: 

    Localized resectable:
     The cancer is found in the liver only, has not spread and can be completely removed by surgery. 

    Localized and locally advanced unresectable: The cancer is found in the liver only and has not spread but cannot be completely removed by surgery. 

    Advanced: Cancer has spread throughout the liver or has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs and bone.

  • Q: What does it mean if my cancer spreads? How does it happen?


    Cancer spreads when the tumor’s cancer cells enter the blood stream or the lymph nodes. This spreading is referred to as “metastasis,” and the cancer is referred to as metastatic cancer. Because the metastatic cells are from the original cancer, referred to as the “primary,” the cancer is still the original cancer, although existing now in another part of the body. For example:

    • If colon cancer metastasizes into the liver, the tumor that forms in the liver is made up of colon cancer cells. It is still colon cancer, even though it’s now located in the liver.

    Treatment for metastatic cancer will depend on where it began (its primary source), the location and size of the metastatic cancer, previous cancer treatments and the patient’s health. The majority of liver cancers are metastatic, having originated elsewhere and spread to the liver.

  • Q: Where do I find more information on liver cancer?

    A: There’s a lot of information about liver cancer on the Web and in bookstores. We recommend you start with the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute for their comprehensive expertise. From there you’ll find more resources.

    Visit these websites for more information on liver cancer:
    National Cancer Institute
    American Cancer Society

Want more answers? Browse all of the OhioHealth cancer patient FAQs. General FAQ

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