Your health care team
Your general practitioner (GP) will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms or to follow up abnormal results from ultrasound or blood tests that have been done to check for liver cancer. If these tests show that you have liver cancer – or there is concern about possible cancer – you will usually be referred to a specialist. This is likely to be a hepatobiliary surgeon, gastroenterologist or hepatologist. 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 if possible.
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*||diagnoses and treats disorders of the digestive system, including liver cancer; may treat liver cancer with drug therapies|
|hepatologist*||a gastroenterologist specialising in liver disease|
|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, hepatology nurse||administer drugs and provide care, information and support; a hepatology nurse specialises in liver cancer|
|occupational therapist||assists in adapting your living and working environment to help you resume usual activities after treatment|
|physiotherapist, exercise physiologist||help restore movement and mobility, and improve fitness and wellbeing|
|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||helps with nutrition concerns and recommends changes to diet during 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 professionals|
A/Prof Simone Strasser, Hepatologist, AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and The University of Sydney, NSW; A/Prof Siddhartha Baxi, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare, Gold Coast, QLD; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, NSLHD Supportive and Palliative Care Network, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Anne Dowling, Hepatoma Clinical Nurse Consultant and Liver Transplant Coordinator, Austin Health, VIC; A/Prof Koroush Haghighi, Liver, Pancreas and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon, Prince of Wales and St Vincent’s Hospitals, NSW; Karen Hall, 131120 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Brett Knowles, Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary and General Surgeon, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and St Vincent’s Hospital, VIC; Lina Sharma, Consumer; David Thomas, Consumer; Clinical A/Prof Michael Wallace, Department of Hepatology and Western Australian Liver Transplant Service, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Medical School, The University of Western Australia, WA; Prof Desmond Yip, Clinical Director, Department of Medical Oncology, The Canberra Hospital, ACT.
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Practical advice and support during and after treatment