Liver cancer diagnoses are on the rise, having tripled since 1980, and today, more than 42,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. This cancer can strike men and women of all ages and requires prompt intervention, which is where the team of oncologists at Charleston Oncology comes in. With cutting-edge clinical trials and the latest treatment protocols, the doctors help patients better negotiate this fairly common cancer. For more information, please call to request an appointment.
Liver Cancer Q & A
What is liver cancer?
Your liver is the largest internal organ in your body and it’s responsible for filtering your blood, among other functions. There are several types of cancer that can originate in your liver, including:
This is the most common form of liver cancer and presents itself either as a large tumor or small cancer nodules scattered throughout your liver.
Bile duct cancer (intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma)
This type of the disease makes up 10-20% of diagnoses and starts in the cells of your liver’s bile ducts.
Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma
These are rarer forms of the disease that originate in the cells that line the blood vessels in your liver.
While the above represent the most common forms of primary liver cancer, many cancers can metastasize to your liver, though your doctor will treat the primary cause of the cancer before addressing the problem in your liver.
What are the signs of liver cancer?
Often, the signs of liver cancer show up in its later stages, but sometimes there are warning flags in the early stages. These include:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Pain in your abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- A heavy feeling on your right side under your ribs
If your primary care doctor has run tests and performed some preliminary diagnostic imaging and found something suspicious, the doctors at Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates can narrow down your diagnosis with:
- CT scans
- Angiogram to observe your blood vessels
- Laparoscopy for a closer look
- Biopsy to test the tissue
Your doctor also performs a series of lab tests, including an alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test, a liver function test, and a blood clotting test. Between the imaging and lab results, your doctor can get a better idea of the type and stage of your liver cancer.
What are the treatments for liver cancer?
The doctors at Charleston Oncology recommend the latest treatment protocols put forward by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, including:
- Radiation, including CyberKnife®
- Tumor ablation
- Embolization therapy
- Targeted therapy
Whatever treatment plan you follow, rest assured that your doctor works with the specialists necessary to combat your liver cancer.
To get started on your liver cancer treatment, call Charleston Oncology today.