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Ask The Expert Archive

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Liver Cancer Archive Questions

Below are Dr. Hanna’s answers to Liver Cancer questions
received through the Ask the Expert feature.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended
to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a
health problem. Please consult with your physician about your specific health
care concerns.

Questions about this topic have been organized into several categories.
Click on a category name below or select "View All" to read all the Q&As in this archive.

. Diagnosis
. Treatment
. View all Questions
. All Questions

Now displaying records 1 to 15 of 57.

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Q : 1

Can the Gamma Knife be used for liver cancer tumors?

For liver cancer, transplant or surgery remain the best options for patients who are candidates.

Q : 2

My father is just 59 years old. Three years ago, his bladder was removed after being diagnosed with bladder cancer. Recently, cancer was found near the spinal cord and he was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. His doctor said the cancer has spread to his blood. Are there any curative options?

Unfortunately, for stage 4 liver cancer, there are no curative options. Treatment should focus on maximizing the quality of life and treating symptoms.

Q : 3

Does bad breath occur in liver cancer patients? My husband has developed foul breath and bowel movements in the last few months since being diagnosed with liver cancer. No treatments have been taken.

The two are not necessarily related. It may be related to overall poor nutrition and mouth hygiene.

Q : 4

My dad has primary liver cancer and his surgeon has suggested resection. The surgeon noted that, statistically, those with successful resections lived, on average, an additional 3-4 years. Is there another option?

He should be evaluated by a liver transplant team, especially if he has cirrhosis of the liver.

Q : 5

My father was diagnosed with late stage liver cancer. He has had not prior liver illnesses and two months before the diagnosis, an ultrasound didn't reveal any tumors. How long does it take for the tumor to develop? He had similar symptoms three years ago.

Even though he had no known previous liver illness, cirrhosis can occur. Generally there are no precancerous lesions in a normal liver and HCC can develop without cirrhosis. Tumor growth depends on a tumor's half-life and biology. Also some tumors can be hard to visualize on US.

Q : 6

My husband was diagnosed with primary liver cancer and a 5cm tumor. He has cirrhosis and has developed ascites, so he is being considered for chemoembolization. How healthy does the liver have to be to go through this treatment?

It depends on his liver function tests, platelet count and other comorbid conditions. Location, number and size of the tumors make a difference as well.

Q : 7

My husband is a liver recipient. He has undergone 2 stents, the last one was metal and was removed in hopes that he could function normally. He may need surgery to connect the bile duct directly to the liver. What does this involve and is the only resolution?

If there is disruption of his biliary anastomosis following his transplant that doesn't heal with stenting, surgery is required and the only and best solution.

Q : 8

My dad has had hepatocellular carcinoma for two years. Recently he just went through his third chemo-embolization treatment due to an increased AFP reading. Unlike the previous times, the AFP reading is going up instead of dropping. What is the implication of the high AFP reading? What is your advice of next steps needed?

He will need a bone scan and chest CT if he hasn't had them already.

Q : 9

My 59-year-old husband was diagnosed with two small tumors (each 2 cm) on his liver. He also has Hep C and cirrhosis. He is scheduled to receive TACE and RFA treatments and is on the transplant list. If multiple TACE and RFA treatments are administered over time, is the health of the liver at risk? Do you know of any cases where TACE and RFA treatments successfully killed tumors? My husband is considering having multiple TACE and RFA treatments, if necessary, in lieu of a transplant.

Multiple TACE and RFA treatments, even when administered over time, have the potential to damage the health of the liver. However, this treatment method has proven to be effective.

Q : 10

I'm 50-year-old female and a 4 year lung cancer survivor after having surgery and chemo. Recent CT shows what they think is a 1 cm cyst or flash hemangioma on my liver. Should this new finding be looked at further or watched for 6 months as the doctor suggests? I am concerned.

A PET/CT scan or liver MRI could help differentiate between a tumor and a cyst.

Q : 11

My sister has advanced breast cancer that has spread to the bones and now to the liver. She had chemo and most of the lesions were gone, but it has returned and the doctor has explained her liver as being peppered. I read about a procedure where they inject chemo right into the liver via a catheter, would my sister be a candidate for this?

Unfortunately, this treatment is not effective for breast cancer that has metastasized to the liver.

Q : 12

My sister-in-law is 35 and has been told she has localized resectable liver cancer and that she will need 70% of her liver removed. What are our options? Is recovery possible?

Surgery is the best option. Expert liver surgeons should be able to do the procedure with good outcomes.

Q : 13

My sister has liver cancer and speckled tumours over 75% of her liver. Without treatment she has been given a life expectancy of 12-18 months and she also had colon cancer and a large tumour removed 15 months ago. A liver operation was unsuccessful because of the location of the tumours (on drainage ducts, junctions and arteries) and removal would have been dangerous. What alternatives does she have now?

Alternative options would include chemo-embolization or SIR-Spheres.

Q : 14

A recent CT scan showed a 3cm lesion on my liver. An MRI was done but they are unsure of results at this time. Am I wrong for wanting a biopsy or am I overreacting?

Liver masses are usually not normal and need to come out. We generally do not do biopsy, but it is not unreasonable if it will give you peace of mind. Just remember that a negative biopsy does not mean surgery is not needed.

Q : 15

I am at high risk for liver cancer and have hepatitis B. What can I do to reduce the risk of developing cancer?

You should avoid alcohol altogether and enroll in a surveillance program for early detection.

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