Five Common Questions About Liver Cancer Treatment

It can be difficult to decide on the best course of action for liver cancer treatment. You can potentially consider a number of different therapies as well as several different cancer centers and oncologists. Add in clinical trials, second opinions and supportive care, and you’ll likely have quite a few questions throughout the process.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we’re here to provide individualized guidance every step of the way. While you can ask us anything that comes to mind, you might also use the following FAQs to get answers to general questions.

Do I need to start liver cancer treatment right away?

It’s probably a good idea to get started as soon as possible. The earlier you’re able to take action, the more options you’re likely to have.

However, don’t let anyone pressure you into making a decision before you’re ready. Getting a second opinion is perfectly acceptable – and even encouraged – as is asking for an explanation if there’s something you don’t understand.

Will I need surgery for liver cancer?

Surgery is a common treatment for liver cancer, but it’s not the only one. Sometimes, surgery is the best course of action, but in other instances, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be more appropriate. You can ask your oncologists to discuss all of your options – both surgical and nonsurgical – and explain the impact that each one could potentially have on your outcome and quality of life.

Will my liver cancer treatment cause any side effects?

While oncologists work hard to limit the side effects of liver cancer treatment, there’s still a chance that you’ll experience complications such as nausea, fatigue, anemia or skin irritation. Before you start a new treatment, ask your oncologist about the side effects that you might expect and whether there are any supportive care options available to lessen their impact.

Should I enroll in a clinical trial?

The decision to take part in a clinical trial is a highly personal one. Some people want to try out the latest therapies, while others prefer to go with the current standard of care. If you’re considering a clinical trial, keep in mind that you’ll be carefully monitored throughout the entire process and you can withdraw at any time. If your cancer doesn’t respond well to a trial, you can talk to your oncologist about switching to something else.

What happens if my cancer comes back?

Liver cancer that comes back after treatment is known as recurrent cancer. Many survivors never experience a recurrence, but you’ll likely be scheduled for frequent checkups – especially in the first two years after you complete treatment – to watch for any potential warning signs. If your cancer does come back, this will help your treatment team diagnose it early and provide you with tailored treatment recommendations.

If you have other specific questions that you’d like us to answer, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to request an appointment. You can consult with our liver cancer team with or without a physician’s referral.