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Liver Cancer Treatment by Stage

In addition to the Roman numeral staging system used for liver cancer (i.e., stages I through IV and recurrent cases of the disease), cases of the disease are also further classified for purposes of treatment. The following article breaks down liver cancer treatment by stage based on whether the cancer is classified as being localized resectable, localized and locally advanced unresectable, or advanced.

Liver Cancer Treatment by Stage: An Overview

At this time, liver cancer can be cured only when it is found at an early stage (before it has spread) and only if the patient is healthy enough to have an operation. However, liver cancer treatment other than surgery may be able to control the disease and help patients live longer and feel better.
Some factors that may influence liver cancer treatment options include:
  • The stage of the cancer (see Stages of Liver Cancer)
  • The number, size, and location of tumors
  • Whether the cancer has spread outside the liver
  • The patient's age
  • The patient's general health.
Usually, the most important factor is the stage of liver cancer. The stage is based on the size of the tumor, the condition of the liver, and whether the cancer has spread. When considering a patient's liver cancer prognosis, doctors will often describe the cancer using stages referred to by Roman numerals (e.g., stage I). However, when discussing treatment doctors will often classify cases of liver cancer as belonging to one of three groups:
  • Localized resectable
  • Localized and locally advanced unresectable
  • Advanced.
The following are brief descriptions of these classifications of liver cancer and the treatments most often used for each. For some patients, other liver cancer treatments may be appropriate.
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