Important information

The management of liver cancer can be complex, especially for people who require surgery.

A person with a suspected liver cancer should be referred to a gastroenterologist, hepatologist or hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) surgeon who is a member of a liver or upper gastrointestinal cancer multidisciplinary team and practices at a specialist centre.

Specialist centres

The management of liver cancer requires a team of health care professionals with experience in hepatopancreatobiliary cancers (including surgery) and the availability of adequate supportive care following surgery.

Even if surgery does not seem likely at the time of referral, early involvement of a multidisciplinary team is recommended to ensure optimal assessment, care, and outcomes.


Specialist centres for pancreatic cancer, primary liver cancer and bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) surgery are: 

Some patients may need to travel out of area to be treated at a specialist centre. The local health district will have an arrangement in place for this. For more detailed information about specialist centres, see Optimising cancer care on the Cancer Institute NSW website.


What tests are needed?

Common tests used to diagnose liver cancer include:

  • physical examination
  • blood tests
  • imaging - ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan and/or PET scan
  • biopsy.


What treatment options are there?

Treatment for liver cancer may include one or more of the following:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • tumour ablation (radiofrequency/microwave)
  • embolisation therapy (chemoembolisation/radioembolisation).


How common is liver cancer in NSW?

Liver cancer was diagnosed in:

  • 2015
    718 people in NSW
  • 2014
    750 people in NSW
  • 2013
    705 people in NSW
Data source: Cancer statistics NSW portal (sourced from Institute Data Warehouse, Cancer Institute NSW. Available at:

Last updated: 21 February 2019.

Better cancer care

Better cancer care

Every person with cancer should have their care overseen by a specialist on a multidisciplinary team.

Liver cancer pathway

The nationally recognised optimal care pathway for liver cancer management in Australia.
Quick reference guide
Optimal care pathway