Liver Cancer

About Liver Cancer

Primary liver cancer is cancer that starts in the liver. The most common type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which occurs in the tissue of the liver. When cancer starts in other parts of the body and spreads to the liver, it is called liver metastasis.

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Disease Site Team

Disease site teams, or multidisciplinary care teams, are specialists from each diagnostic, treatment and supportive care discipline working together in the same facility where state-of-the-art cancer treatment is given, and relevant research is conducted.



  • Patients with known cirrhosis
  • Patients with long-standing Hepatitis B infection (even in the absence of cirrhosis)


Every 6 months, patients should have an
  • Ultrasound of the liver
  • AFP tumor marker (blood test)
Talk with you doctor to see if a liver cancer screening is right for you.


Many liver cancer cases are related to the hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus. More than 4 million people are living with chronic Hepatitis B or chronic Hepatitis C in the United States. Most people don’t know they have the virus.

Other behaviors and conditions that increase risk for getting liver cancer are heavy alcohol use, obesity or diabetes or medical conditions such as cirrhosis or hemochromatosis.


In its early stages, liver cancer may not have symptoms that can be seen or felt. However, as the cancer grows larger, symptoms may include discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side, a swollen abdomen, a hard lump on the right side just below the rib cage, or pain near the right shoulder blade or in the back. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) or easy bruising or bleeding can also be signs. Other symptoms could be unusual tiredness, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite or weight loss for no known reason. It’s important to remember that these symptoms could also be caused by other health conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that involve human beings in order to test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose or treat diseases. A drug must be part of a clinical trial before the FDA will approve it to be put on the market. Oncology clinical trials are conducted in order to test new drugs or a new combination of drug treatments, new surgery and radiation therapies and new medical devices. Every cancer center patient is evaluated for participation in a clinical trial. Those who meet the criteria to participate in clinical research receive a standard of care treatment, but with the added benefit of a trial that may enhance their outcomes. If interested in volunteering to participate in a clinical research trial, or if you have concerns about the conduct of clinical research, please contact the Clinical Research office at (225) 215-1353, or by email at


  • American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society website contains information on many aspects of cancer care geared toward patients and caregivers.
  • National Cancer Institute: National Cancer Institute is a federal program that is part of the National Institutes of Health. It has resources and information for patients and caregivers which is based on scientific research.
  • Centers for Disease and Prevention: The Centers for Disease and Prevention website provides resources for breast cancer patients.