Your liver is a gastrointestinal organ. It helps digest fat, clean blood, control hormones and store energy. A number of cancers can spread (metastasize) there. Less commonly, cancer develops first in the liver, usually as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This is called primary liver cancer.
At Aurora Health Care, you benefit from top treatment for primary liver cancer. In addition to surgical expertise, we provide new options for advanced disease treatment and continue to research others. You will also find specialized care for metastatic liver cancer.
Doctors and researchers don’t fully understand why primary liver cancer develops. But they have identified certain factors that can increase your risk, which you can manage with medical help:
Early stages of liver cancer don’t usually cause symptoms. When symptoms do arise, they can be similar to those caused by other diseases and can include:
Your doctor usually starts with a complete physical exam and questions about your symptoms, medical history and family. Blood tests evaluate liver function and look for substances tumors may produce. If doctors find a tumor, they may take a sample of it (biopsy).
Most people also undergo imaging tests, with options that include:
Treatment for metastatic liver cancer depends on where the cancer began. For primary liver cancer, options depend on how much of the liver the disease has harmed and whether it has spread. People with smaller tumors and good liver function can more often have the cancer removed or destroyed.
When standard treatments no longer work for stage 4 cancer, the new Oncology Precision Medicine Clinic can help find new options. Learn more about precision medicine for cancer.
You can access new treatment options before they become widely available, through the Aurora Research Institute’s clinical trials.
You can also participate closer to home thanks to a federal grant that brings clinical trial access to all Aurora cancer clinics. Any Aurora oncologist can enroll you in a trial, making the process even easier. Search clinical trials.
You have access to a wide range of treatment options at Aurora. Surgery and other highly specialized treatments take place at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, while other care is available at your local Aurora cancer clinic. Collectively, the program offers: