Liver Cancer

For your patients with liver cancer, Premier Health offers this information on services specific to its diagnosis and treatment, in addition to our services for patients with gastrointestinal cancer.

Liver cancer is a type of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. Cancer cells form in the tissues of the liver, one of the body’s largest organs, that filters harmful substances from the blood, metabolizes drugs, makes bile to help digest fats from food, and stores sugar, which the body uses for energy.

Premier Health is home to The Liver Cancer Center of Ohio, which gives you the surgical and interventional oncology specialists and resources you need to fight liver cancer. You can count on our highly coordinated, collaborative, comprehensive care throughout your liver cancer journey.

Detection And Prevention

Liver cancer is much more common in men than women. In the U.S., Asian Americans have the highest rate of liver cancer, followed by Hispanic Americans and African Americans. Individuals with hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection are at increased risk, as are those with alcohol-related liver disease. Individuals with cirrhosis (damaged liver cells replaced by scar tissue) as a result of alcohol abuse or chronic hepatitis C infection also have a higher risk. Hemochromatosis, a condition with abnormal iron metabolism, is strongly associated with liver cancer. Obesity and use of tobacco and alcohol may also increase your risk.

The most important thing you can do to prevent liver cancer is to avoid and treat hepatitis B and C infections, as well as inherited diseases like hemochromatosis that can cause cirrhosis of the liver. You can also avoid tobacco and alcohol, and watch your diet and body weight. Currently there is no screening test for liver cancer for people with no symptoms.

Diagnosis

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by liver cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • A hard lump on the right side just below the rib cage
  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Pain near the right should blade or in the back
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or feelings of fullness after eating a small meal
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Pale, chalky bowel movements and dark urine

After taking a complete history and performing a physical examination, your doctor may order tests to look for liver cancer. Additional tests that can help to diagnose liver cancer include the Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test and liver function tests.

Treatment

We’ll consider the type, size, and stage of your liver cancer, plus your age and overall health, to recommend one or more of the following treatment strategies:

  • Surgery to remove the primary (main) tumor or other tumors
  • Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to kill or stop the growth or spread of cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to prevent or delay your cancer's return
  • Symptom management for pain or other cancer-related symptoms

Contact Us

Premier Health offers an extensive network of experienced cancer specialists, close to home, who welcome your referrals. Find a cancer specialist best suited to your patient’s unique needs.