Liver Cancer: Follow-Up Care

Liver cancer usually affects multiple organs in the body. Coordinated care by our multidisciplinary team may help you gain a quality of life for a longer period than was possible in years past.

Because cancer of the liver is difficult to control, regular follow-up care after your first course of treatment is important and should likely include periodic imaging, liver function evaluations, and blood tests. Let members of your cancer care team know about pain or any symptoms, changes, or problems that you experience.

Many people with liver cancer may experience symptoms such as skin itching, nausea, fever, and jaundice, which may be caused by blockage of the bile ducts. In these cases, when the tumor is too widespread to be removed, palliative surgery may help prevent these blockages and alleviate symptoms.

Hepatitis Treatment and Liver Cancer Surveillance

Some patients with liver cancer have chronic hepatitis B or C. These viruses cause chronic inflammation and scarring in the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis B can be controlled with antiviral medications, and hepatitis C can be cured with antiviral therapy.

Treatment with antiviral medications is often recommended in combination with treatment for liver cancer, especially in the case of chronic hepatitis B. There is evidence to suggest that patients with liver cancer live longer if the amount of this virus (viral load) can be controlled or eliminated.

Since liver cancer is more likely than not to recur eventually, even after successful treatment, you should visit your surgeon, oncologist, or other doctors for regular surveillance with imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT, or MRI.

Pain Management

Some people with liver cancer need help in controlling pain during the course of treatment. Experts on our interdisciplinary Pain and Palliative Care Service help to ensure that if you are experiencing pain you are identified and treated appropriately and effectively.

In addition, our Integrative Medicine Service offers access to the best of complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy.