What Are the Treatments for Liver Cancer?

Q:
What are the treatments for liver cancer?

A:
Treatments for primary liver cancer depend on the extent of the disease as well as your age, overall health and personal preferences.

Surgery
Operations used to treat liver cancer include:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor – In certain situations, your doctor may recommend an operation to remove the liver cancer and a small portion of healthy liver tissue that surrounds it if your tumor is small and your liver function is good.
  • Liver transplant surgery – During liver transplant surgery, your diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy liver from a donor.

Localized treatments
Localized treatments for liver cancer are those that are administered directly to the cancer cells or the area surrounding the cancer cells. Localized treatment options for liver cancer include:

  • Freezing cancer cells – Cryoablation uses extreme cold to destroy cancer cells.
  • Heating cancer cells – In a procedure called radiofrequency ablation, electric current is used to heat and destroy cancer cells.
  • Injecting alcohol into the tumor – During alcohol injection, pure alcohol is injected directly into tumors, either through the skin or during an operation.
  • Injecting chemotherapy drugs into the liver – Chemoembolization is a type of chemotherapy treatment that supplies strong anti-cancer drugs directly to the liver.

Radiation therapy
This treatment uses high-powered energy from sources such as X-rays and protons to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors.

Targeted drug therapy
Targeted drugs work by interfering with specific abnormalities within a tumor.

Supportive (palliative) care
Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness.

To plan your entire treatment strategy, talk with a team of cancer specialists. This might include a surgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.