If you experience signs or symptoms that suggest liver cancer, your doctor may carry out the following diagnostic tests:
Treatment depends on the size and number of liver cancer tumours, whether the cancer has spread outside the liver, the underlying liver function, and the general fitness of the patient.
Liver cancer treatments include:
Liver transplant is a surgery that involves the removal of the entire liver and replaced with a healthy donated liver. This can only be done if a donated liver is available, cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, and the cancer can be eliminated through surgery. This treatment is suitable for patients whose liver cancer tumours meet certain criteria. It is especially suitable for patients whose liver is too weak to receive other treatments.
Liver resection is a surgery that removes the affected part of the liver. It is suitable for patients with a normal-functioning liver, and is a potentially curable treatment for early stage liver cancer.
Tumour ablation directly destroys the liver cancer cells with heat or alcohol. It can destroy liver tumours without the need to remove them. This treatment is usually recommended if surgery is not ideal due to the patient’s poor health or dwindling liver function. Tumour ablation can also be a good treatment option if the tumours are few and small.
Chemotherapy destroys the cancer cells. Drugs can be given as injections into the artery supplying the tumour via a process called chemoembolisation. At the same time, a gel may be injected to block blood supply to the tumour. Your doctor will recommend chemotherapy as a treatment only if your liver is still functioning properly.
SIRT involves injecting radioactive particles directly into the liver tumours via the artery. It can shrink tumours and is useful for tumours that have spread into the liver veins.
Targeted therapy stops the cancer from growing or spreading by reducing blood flow to the cancer cells. Drugs are used to target the genes and proteins that contribute to the growth and survival of cancer cells. These drugs can be delivered orally or intravenously.