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.
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) 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
What treatment options are there?
Treatment for liver cancer may include one or more of the following:
- tumour ablation (radiofrequency/microwave)
- embolisation therapy (chemoembolisation/radioembolisation).
How common is liver cancer in NSW?
Liver cancer was diagnosed in:
Data Source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2014 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)