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Side Effects of Treatment for Liver Cancer

Because liver cancer treatment may damage healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Specific side effects depend on many factors, including the type and extent of the treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may even change from one treatment session to the next. Before treatment starts, healthcare providers should explain possible side effects and suggest ways to manage them.

The Importance of Proper Nutrition

People need to eat well while treating liver cancer. They need enough calories to maintain a good weight and protein to keep up strength. Good nutrition often helps people with cancer feel better and have more energy.
But eating well can be difficult. People may not feel like eating if they are uncomfortable or tired. Also, the side effects of treatment, such as poor appetite, nausea, or vomiting, can be a problem. Foods may also taste different than they did before the start of treatment. Nevertheless, people should try to eat enough calories and protein to control weight loss, maintain strength, and promote healing. Also, eating well often helps people with cancer feel better and have more energy. The doctor, dietitian, or other healthcare provider can suggest ways to maintain a healthy diet.
Careful planning and checkups are also important. Liver cancer and its treatment may make it hard for people to digest food and maintain their weight. The doctor will check for weight loss, weakness, and lack of energy.

Clinical Trials of Liver Cancer Treatment

Cancer of the liver is hard to control with current treatment options. For that reason, many doctors encourage people with liver cancer to consider taking part in a clinical trial. These research trials are meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for liver cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Clinical trials are an important option for people with all stages of liver cancer.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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