Liver Cancer Treatment

Patient recommended treatment plan will depend on the stage patient liver cancer is at. If patient cancer is at Stage 1 when diagnosed, a complete cure may be possible. The three main ways this can be achieved are:

  • Removing the affected section of liver – known as a resection
  • Having a liver transplant – an operation to remove the liver and replace it with a healthy one
  • Using heat to kill cancerous cells – known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

If patient cancer is at Stage 2 or 3, a cure is not usually possible. However, chemotherapy can slow the progression of the cancer, relieve symptoms and prolong life for months or, in some cases, years.If patient cancer is at Stage 4 when diagnosed, it is usually too late to slow down the spread of the cancer. Instead, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms of pain and discomfort patient may have.

If damage to patient’s liver is minimal and the cancer is contained in a small part of patient liver, it may be possible to remove the cancerous cells during surgery. This procedure is known as surgical resection.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) may be recommended as an alternative to surgery to treat liver cancer at an early stage, ideally when the tumor or tumors are smaller than 5cm (two inches) in diameter. RFA can also be used to treat tumors larger than this, but the treatment may need to be repeated in such cases.

Chemotherapy involves using a combination of powerful cancer-killing medications to slow the spread of liver cancer in body.