Living with Liver Cancer – What the Future Holds
It is natural to be scared when you or a loved one gets a liver cancer diagnosis. However, there is hope. Understanding the disease, especially how it is treated, will help you to be an informed patient and an active member of your health care team.
Symptoms of Liver Cancer
The symptoms of liver cancer will depend on the specific type you have, but there are a few common symptoms that many people get. These include:
- Yellow tint to skin and the whites of your eyes, also called jaundice
- Swelling of the abdomen, especially on the right side
- Easy bruising
- Excessive bleeding and cuts taking a long time to form a scab
- Discomfort or pain of the abdomen, especially the right side
If you have these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment for Liver Cancer
The type of treatment for liver cancer depends on certain factors, including the location and size of the tumors, how many tumors are present, and how the liver is functioning. Possible treatments include:
- Surgery to remove part of the liver or the entire liver
- Liver transplant
- Ablation, or destroying the cancer cells with heat or chemicals
- Targeted therapies using antibodies against liver cancer cells
- Embolization, or blocking blood supply to the cancer
Liver Cancer Prognosis
A prognosis is not a definite outcome, but rather a doctor’s prediction of the most likely outcome. The prognosis for liver cancer depends on several factors. First, the patient’s age, overall health, and response to cancer treatments are important. Second, aspects of the cancer itself, such as size, location, and stage of disease are important in determining the outcome. Some liver cancer has a fatal prognosis, while other types can be easily and quickly treated. Your doctor will tell you what the options are. Almost all liver cancer is deadly without treatment, so it is important to get treatment as quickly as possible and to follow your treatment plan.
Cancer is a scary diagnosis, and liver cancer particularly so. However, there are ways of fighting the disease. Many people make a full recovery and go on to lead happy and healthy lives in remission.