Your general practitioner (GP) will usually arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. If these tests do not rule out cancer, you will be referred to a specialist. For primary liver cancer, this specialist is likely to be a liver specialist such as a hepatologist, gastroenterologist or hepatobiliary surgeon.
The specialist will arrange further tests. If liver cancer is diagnosed, the specialist will consider treatment options. Often these will be discussed with other health professionals at what is known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting. During and after treatment for liver cancer, you will see a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care.
- GP – assists you with treatment decisions and works with your specialists to provide ongoing care
- Gastroenterologist, hepatologist – diagnose and treat disorders of the digestive system, including liver cancer; a hepatologist is a gastroenterologist specialising in liver diseases
- Hepatobiliary surgeon – operates on the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and surrounding organs
- Interventional radiologist – analyses x-rays and scans, and delivers some treatments for liver cancer
- Medical oncologist – treats cancer with drug therapies such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy (systemic treatment)
- Cancer care coordinator – coordinates care, liaises with MDT and supports you and your family throughout treatment; care may also be coordinated by a clinical nurse consultant (CNC), clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or hepatology nurse
- Nurse – administers drugs and provides care, information and support; a hepatology nurse specialises in liver cancer
- Physiotherapist, occupational therapist – assist with physical and practical problems, including restoring movement and mobility after treatment, and recommending aids and equipment
- Social worker – links you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical or financial issues
- Dietitian – recommends an eating plan to follow while you are in treatment and recovery
- Psychiatrist, counsellor, psychologist – help you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment
- Palliative care team – work closely with your GP and cancer specialist to help control symptoms and maintain quality of life; includes palliative care specialists and nurses, as well as other health care professionals