Consumer Health: Treating Liver Cancer | Health

More than 41,000 new cases of primary liver cancer and cancer of the intrahepatic bile ducts will be diagnosed in the United States this year, and more than 30,000 people will die from these diseases, according to the American Cancer Society.

Liver cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of your liver, which is a football-sized organ located in the upper right part of your abdomen. The liver is essential for digesting food and ridding your body of toxic substances.

Intrahepatic bile duct cancer, which is sometimes classified as a type of liver cancer, occurs in the parts of the bile ducts inside the liver. The bile ducts carry bile, a digestive fluid, and they connect your liver to your gallbladder and your small intestine.

Sometimes the cause of liver cancer is known, as in the case of chronic hepatitis. But sometimes liver cancer occurs in people with no underlying disease, and it is not known what is causing it. Factors that increase the risk of liver cancer include chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection, diabetes, and excessive alcohol consumption.

If you have been diagnosed with liver cancer, your healthcare professional will work to determine the extent or stage of the cancer. Staging tests help determine the size and location of the cancer and whether it has spread. Imaging tests used to determine the stage of liver cancer include CT scans, MRIs, and bone scans.


Treatment for primary liver cancer depends on the stage of the disease, as well as your age, general health, and personal preferences.

Treatment options may include:


Surgical treatments include:

• Surgery to remove the tumour: Your healthcare team may recommend an operation to remove liver cancer and a small amount of healthy liver tissue around it if your tumor is small and your liver function is good. This recommendation also depends on where your cancer is in the liver and your general health.

Liver transplant surgery: During liver transplant surgery, your diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy liver from a donor. Liver transplant surgery is only an option for a small percentage of people with early-stage liver cancer.

Spot treatments

Spot treatments include:

•Heating cancer cells: Radiofrequency ablation uses electrical current to heat and destroy cancer cells.

• Freezing cancer cells: Cryoablation uses extreme cold to destroy cancer cells.

•Injecting alcohol into the tumor: During alcohol injection, pure alcohol is injected directly into the tumors, either through the skin or during an operation, which causes the death of the tumors. tumor cells.

•Inject chemotherapy drugs into the liver: Chemoembolization is a type of chemotherapy treatment that delivers powerful anti-cancer drugs directly to the liver.

• Placing beads filled with radiation in the liver: Tiny spheres containing radiation can be placed directly in the liver, where they can deliver radiation directly to the tumor.


This treatment uses high-powered energy from sources such as X-rays and protons to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy may be an option if other treatments aren’t possible or haven’t helped. For advanced liver cancer, radiation therapy may help control symptoms.

Targeted drug therapy

Targeted drug treatments focus on specific abnormalities present in cancer cells. By blocking these abnormalities, targeted drug treatments can cause cancer cells to die. Many targeted drugs are available for the treatment of advanced liver cancer.


Immunotherapy uses your immune system to fight cancer. Your body’s disease-fighting immune system may not attack your cancer because cancer cells produce proteins that blind immune system cells. Immunotherapy works by interfering with this process. Immunotherapy treatments are usually reserved for people with advanced liver cancer.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill fast-growing cells, including cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given through a vein in your arm, as a pill, or both. Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat advanced liver cancer.

Palliative care

Palliative care is specialized medical care aimed at relieving pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. Hospice palliative care specialists work with you, your family and other healthcare professionals to provide an extra layer of support that complements your ongoing care.

Palliative care can be used during other aggressive treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. When palliative care is used with all other appropriate treatments, people with cancer can feel better and live longer.

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