What you need to know

It is recommended that you:

  • See a gastroenterologist or hepatologist who is a member of a multidisciplinary team. You can ask your GP to refer you.
  • All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What is liver cancer?

Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC) is cancer that occurs in the liver. Liver cancer starts when cells in the liver become abnormal. These cells divide and grow to form a cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer.

The risk factors for liver cancer include:

  • Chronic Hepatitis C
  • Hepatitis B
  • A family history of hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Cirrhosis of the liver due to any cause

Who do I see for diagnosis and treatment?

If your GP suspects you have liver cancer, they will refer you to a gastroenterologist or hepatologist.

The specialist should:

  • Have experience treating liver cancer
  • Be an active member of a multidisciplinary team

All the specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

Why are multidisciplinary teams important?

A multidisciplinary team is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Team members meet regularly to discuss their patients. They plan treatment for new cancer patients and review treatment for existing patients.

Multidisciplinary teams are important. Team members work together to decide the best treatments for patients.

You can ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who is part of a multidisciplinary team. Talk to your GP about this.

All specialists on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What tests do I need?

You may have some of the tests listed below to diagnose liver cancer. The most common tests are:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging - ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan and/or PET scan
  • Biopsy

What treatment will I have?

Treatment for liver cancer may include one or all types of these cancer treatments:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy (transarterial chemoembolisation/TACE)
  • radiotherapy (radiofrequency/microwave ablation)

Where will I have treatment?

If treatment for your liver cancer is specialised and complex, you may need to travel to have a part of your treatment. Your Local Health District will have an arrangement in place for this.

You may be able to have parts of your treatment closer to home. Please discuss this with your treating specialist.

Travel assistance for rural patients

If you live in a rural area and need help to travel for your treatment visit NSW Government IPTAAS for more information.

How common is liver cancer in NSW?

Liver cancer was diagnosed in:

  • 611
    People in NSW in 2012
  • 605
    People in NSW in 2011
  • 576
    People in NSW in 2010

Data Source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2012 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)

Cancer information and support

Speak to a specialist health professional about anything to do with cancer.

Phone 13 11 20.

Cancer Council NSW
Questions for your specialist

Find out some key questions to ask your specialist at your first appointment.

Questions you can ask
Booklet about liver cancer

Understanding Cancer in the Liver is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW
Information on upper gastrointestinal cancer

Read about upper gastrointestinal cancer which includes liver, oesophageal and pancreatic cancer.