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Liver Cancer

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

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.

Abdominal Organs


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Intake and output:

Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They may also need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your urine.

Daily weight:

Healthcare providers will weigh you each day. They compare your weight from day to day to make sure you are not retaining or losing too much fluid.


A dietitian may work with you to help you get enough calories, vitamins, and minerals. This may help you feel better and improve energy levels.


  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Diuretics are given to decrease swelling caused by fluid buildup. This occurs when your liver stops working correctly. You may urinate more often when you take this medicine.


  • Blood tests can show signs of liver cancer and check the function of your liver.
  • An ultrasound, CT, or MRI may be used to show the location and size of the tumor. You may be given contrast liquid to help the tumor and blood vessels show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • A biopsy is a procedure to remove a small piece of tissue from your liver to be tested for cancer.
  • Cholangiography is a procedure used to examine the tumor. It may also be done to open your bile duct if the tumor is blocking it.


  • 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. Medicines may also be given to prevent cancer cells from growing or spreading. Medicine may also be used to reduce blood flow to the tumor or kill cancer cells.
  • 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.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.


Liver cancer may lead to liver failure. You may develop a blood clot in the veins connected to your liver or kidneys. Even with treatment, the cancer may spread to other organs and cause other health problems. The cancer and the treatments increase your risk for bleeding or an infection.


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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.