Liver cancer treatment overview

Your treatment will depend on whether you have primary liver cancer or secondary cancer in the liver; the size and spread of the cancer; and whether any other disease, such as cirrhosis, affects your liver. Your doctor will also consider your age and general health, as well as the options available at your hospital.

  • Primary liver cancer – The most common treatments are tumour ablation using heat (radiofrequency or microwave ablation) and chemotherapy delivered directly into the cancer, known as transarterial chemoembolisation (TACE). Surgery is used for about 5% of people.
  • Secondary cancer in the liver – The main treatments are chemotherapy or a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.
This information was last reviewed in July 2014

This information has been reviewed by: A/Prof Vincent Lam, Sydney Medical School Hepatobiliary, Pancreatic and Transplant Surgeon, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Prof Peter Angus, Medical Director, Director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Professorial Fellow, Austin Hospital and University of Melbourne, VIC; Jenny Berryman, Consumer; Ann Bullen, Cancer Care Coordinator, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Prof Jonathan Fawcett, Director, Queensland Liver Transplant Service, Professor of Surgery, University of Queensland, QLD; Dr Dan Madigan, Interventional Radiologist, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Dr Monica Robotin, Medical Director, Cancer Council NSW; and Dr Simon So, Interventional Radiologist, Westmead Hospital, NSW.

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