What Is the Diagnosis and Treatment of Liver Cancer?

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Diagnosis Tests and procedures used to diagnose liver cancer include:
  • Blood tests. Blood tests may reveal liver function abnormalities.
  • Imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Removing a sample of liver tissue for testing. Your doctor may recommend removing a piece of liver tissue for laboratory testing in order to make a definitive diagnosis of liver cancer.
Determining the extent of the liver cancer Once liver cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will work to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer. Staging tests help determine the size and location of cancer and whether it has spread. Imaging tests used to stage liver cancer include CTs, MRIs and bone scans. Treatment Treatments for primary liver cancer depend on the extent (stage) of the disease as well as your age, overall health and personal preferences. Surgery: Surgery to remove the tumor and liver transplant surgery Localized treatments
  • Heating cancer cells,
  • Freezing cancer cells,
  • Injecting alcohol into the tumor,
  • Injecting chemotherapy drugs into the liver,
  • Placing beads filled with radiation in 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.