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Liver Cancer: Summary

for Veterans and the Public

Summary

Liver cancer is becoming more common as a late complication of chronic hepatitis C infection among patients who have developed cirrhosis. Patients who are concerned about their risk of cancer should discuss with their medical care providers how they can protect themselves from it. Tests that take images of the liver (e.g., ultrasound, CT, MRI scans), together with measurements of AFP levels in the blood, can detect liver cancer early much of the time.

Once liver cancer is diagnosed, a patient should discuss the options for treatment with health care professionals who have experience managing this type of cancer. This often involves liver specialists, surgeons, interventional radiologists, cancer specialists (called oncologists), and other professionals. Within the VA health care system, this may involve care at larger facilities where more management options are available.

Treatment of liver cancer can involve a lot of discussions and information. Sometimes a number of treatments are required over time to control the cancer. The most important thing for patients with cancer to do is continue discussing plans for treatment with their health care providers, so that they have the widest range of options available and can decide with their providers which options are best for them