What is it?

Liver cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the liver. In people with liver cancer, cells that are not normal grow out of control and form tumours. These cells can spread throughout the liver or to other parts of the body.

There are several types of liver cancer. The causes of liver cancer are unknown. But many people who get liver cancer also have other liver issues.

Liver cancer can either start in the liver or spread to the liver from elsewhere in the body. Cancer that spreads to the liver is the more common type.

New treatment options and supports can help people with liver cancer to live longer.

What will my GP do now?

Your GP may help you to learn more about liver cancer and refer you to a liver specialist for more tests and treatment. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, its size, if it has spread and your health. A healthcare team will look after you. Your GP may play a key role in your care and future health check-ups.

Treatment includes surgery to remove the cancer, liver transplant, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Treatment can help to improve your quality of life. If your cancer is early stage and the rest of your liver is healthy, surgery may be able to cure your cancer.

Your GP may also help you manage your mental health and find supports if you are feeling scared or anxious.

Your GP may also help you look after your health by giving you lifestyle advice and medications.

What will my GP do in the future?

Your GP will continue to play a key role in your care. They may see you every six months for check-ups. They will stay up to date with your care, treatments and test results.

They may talk to you about future planning, such as advance care planning and palliative care. Your GP may also discuss cancer care supports that can help you to navigate this time.

What can I do?

Living a healthy life helps you to reduce your risk factors and stay well while having treatment. Be sure to:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Keep your blood pressure within the normal range
  • Limit drinking and quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get eight hours of sleep each night
  • Reduce stress

Learn about liver cancer so you can make informed choices about your care. Keep in touch with close friends and family, and find someone to talk to. Ask your GP about local support groups. Make plans for the unknown and discuss advanced care planning with your GP.