Advanced liver cancer
For many people with primary liver cancer, the cancer cannot be cured. Talking to your health care team can help you understand your situation and plan for your future care.
Palliative treatments may stop further cancer growth and allow you to continue doing the things you enjoy for several months or years.
Facing the fact that the cancer cannot be cured can be very distressing. You can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for support and information or talk to the social worker or spiritual care practitioner (such as a chaplain) at your hospital or treatment centre.
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If primary liver cancer is advanced when it is first diagnosed or returns after initial treatment, your doctor will discuss palliative treatment for any symptoms caused by the cancer.
Palliative treatment aims to help maintain a person’s quality of life by managing the symptoms of cancer without trying to cure the disease. It can help at any stage of advanced liver cancer. It is not just for people at the end of their life and does not mean giving up hope. Rather, it is about living as fully and comfortably as possible.
As well as slowing the spread of cancer, palliative treatment can relieve pain and other symptoms. Treatment may include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, other medicines or insertion of a stent.
Palliative treatment is one aspect of palliative care, in which a team of health professionals aims to meet your physical, emotional, cultural, social and spiritual needs. The team also provides support to families and carers.
I’d like people with advanced cancer to know that there are a myriad of services. You only have to ask; you are not alone.Pat
Video: What is palliative care?
Watch this video to see how palliative treatment aims to manage symptoms and improve people’s quality of life without trying to cure the disease.
There is still a life to be lived and pleasures to be found and disappointments to be had. Living with advanced cancer is a different life, not just a journey towards death.Julie
Podcast for people affected by advanced cancer
Dr David Yeo, Hepatobiliary/Transplant Surgeon, Royal Prince Alfred, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Centre and St George Hospitals, NSW; Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Michael Coulson, Consumer; Dr Sam Davis, Interventional Radiologist, Staff Specialist, Royal Brisbane and Women‘s Hospital, QLD; Prof Chris Karapetis, Network Clinical Director (Cancer Services), Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Head, Department of Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, SA; Dr Howard Liu, Radiation Oncologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Lina Sharma, Consumer; Dr Graham Starkey, Hepato-Biliary and General Surgeon, Austin Hospital, VIC; Catherine Trevaskis, Gastrointestinal Cancer Specialist Nurse, Canberra Hospital and Health Services, ACT; Dr Michael Wallace, Western Australia Liver Transplant Service, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.