Liver Cancer Treatment

If you are told you have liver cancer, there may be some treatment options available for you. A group of specialists will meet and discuss all the treatment options (MDT). Your doctor will then discuss available options with you and advise you what they think is best.

The treatment you will be offered will depend on:

  • Where the cancer is located in the liver, or if there are multiple areas affected
  • Tumour size
  • How many tumours there are
  • If the cancer has spread outside the liver
  • Whether any blood vessels in the liver are affected
  • How well your liver is working
  • Your general health

Possible treatments:

  • Surgery to remove the cancer
  • Tumour ablation – heat or alcohol is applied to the cancer cells to destroy them
  • Embolisation – blood vessels supplying the tumour are blocked. This can be using chemoembolization or radioembolisation
  • Targeted therapy drugs
  • Chemotherapy can be used to control advanced liver cancer
  • Radiotherapy can be used to help symptoms if the cancer has spread outside the liver Or stereotactic radiotherapy (SABR) can be targeted to the liver

Treatments may be given with the aim of curing the cancer, however it may also be given to help control the cancer growth, prolong life and improve symptoms. Your doctor or specialist nurse will talk about what to expect.

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

If you receive a confirmed diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, it will be discussed by a team of specialists in Belfast who together consider all available options and decide the most appropriate course of treatment for you.

If found early, pancreatic cancer can be cured with surgery and will take place in Belfast.

Sometimes the cancer cannot be removed completely, but you may be offered surgery to relieve symptoms. This is known as a palliative procedure.

You may be referred to an Oncologist in Belfast for chemotherapy or radiotherapy, if curative surgery is not an option. Chemotherapy may also be given before or after surgery.

Gallbladder Cancer Treatment

Surgery may be offered to remove your gallbladder if the cancer is found early and contained within the gallbladder. If all the cancer can be removed by surgery, treatment will hopefully be used to cure the cancer.

Sometimes the cancer will have extended outside the gallbladder, and a larger surgery performed by a specialist in Belfast may be required to remove some surrounding tissue, lymph nodes or parts of other organs affected by the tumor.

If it isn’t possible to cure the cancer, surgery may be used to help improve symptoms. This is done by removing as much of the cancer as possible.

Chemotherapy may occasionally be used after surgery if all the cancer couldn’t be removed by surgery. It may also be used if surgery isn’t possible or if the cancer has come back after initial treatment. The aim of chemotherapy is to shrink or slow down the growth of the cancer and relieve symptoms.

Radiotherapy is sometimes used to treat gallbladder cancer. You may have radiotherapy after surgery. Radiotherapy may also be given to help relieve symptoms if the cancer is advanced. It can either be given externally from a radiotherapy machine or internally by placing radioactive material close to the tumour.

If the cancer is causing a blockage in the bile duct, it may be possible for the doctor to insert a small tube called a stent to open the duct and help relieve jaundice without surgery.

Cholangiocarcinoma Treatment

If caught early, the cancer may be able to be removed by surgery and cured. This is a major surgery which is performed by specialists in Belfast.

If the cancer cannot be removed, chemotherapy may be offered to help reduce symptoms and aim to slow growth.

Occasionally specialised radiotherapy can be used to kill some cancer cells and help relieve symptoms.

If your bile duct becomes blocked due to the cancer, a stent may be inserted to keep the duct open and allow bile to flow through.



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