Your health care team
Your general practitioner (GP) will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. If these tests do not rule out cancer, you will usually be referred to a specialist. For primary liver cancer, this 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, you will see a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care.
Primary liver cancer is challenging to treat and it is recommended that you are treated in a specialist treatment centre.
To find cancer specialists, multidisciplinary teams and hospitals in NSW or ACT, you can also visit the NSW Government website CanRefer.
|hepatobiliary surgeon*||operates on the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and surrounding organs|
|gastroenterologist*, hepatologist*||diagnose and treat disorders of the digestive system, including liver cancer; a hepatologist is a gastroenterologist specialising in liver diseases|
|interventional radiologist*||analyses x-rays and scans, may also perform a biopsy under ultrasound or CT and deliver some treatments|
|medical oncologist*||treats cancer with drug therapies such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy (systemic treatment)|
|radiation oncologist*||treats cancer by prescribing and overseeing a course of radiation therapy|
|cancer care coordinator||coordinates your care, liaises with other members of the MDT and supports you and your family throughout treatment; care may also be coordinated by a clinical nurse consultant (CNC) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS)|
|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 and financial issues|
|psychiatrist*, counsellor, psychologist||help you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment|
|dietitian||recommends an eating plan to follow while you are in treatment and recovery|
|palliative care team||works closely with your GP and cancer team to help control symptoms and maintain quality of life; includes palliative care specialists and nurses, as well as other health care professionals|
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment
Secondary liver cancer
Learn what secondary liver cancer is, and how it is diagnosed and treated
Patient rights and responsibilities
What you can reasonably expect from your health care providers
View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends