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Liver Cancer, Ambulatory Care

Liver cancer

can prevent your liver from working correctly and removing harmful material from your blood. The 2 most common types of liver cancer are hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Feeling lightheaded, short of breath, or chest pain
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • Confusion, or being very drowsy and difficult to wake

Treatment for liver cancer

may include any of the following:

  • Surgery may be done to remove tumors that are small and have not spread to other parts of the body.
  • Medicines may be used to reduce the size of the tumor. Medicine may also be used to reduce blood flow to the tumor or kill cancer cells. Your healthcare provider may also recommend you receive the HBV vaccine to prevent hepatitis B.
  • Ablation or embolization may be done to treat the tumor or reduce blood flow to the tumor. These procedures involve using radio waves, lasers, or light, or injecting medicine near the tumor.
  • Radiation therapy uses x-rays or gamma rays to treat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells and may stop the cancer from spreading. It may also be used to shrink the tumor and decrease pain.
  • A liver transplant is surgery to replace your damaged liver with a donor liver.

Manage your liver cancer:

  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol harms your liver. It can also make your symptoms worse.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking increases your risk for new or returning cancer. Smoking can also delay healing after treatment. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Too much or not enough liquid can cause swelling in your legs and abdomen. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day. You may not feel hungry, but it is important that you eat. Proper nutrition can give you more energy and help you feel better. A dietitian can help you find ways to get enough protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals. Ask if you need to limit sodium (salt).

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return for more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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