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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Types of treatment for secondary liver cancer

Usually, treatment is aimed at controlling the cancer for as long as possible and reducing any symptoms. Chemotherapy or surgery can lengthen life for many people with liver cancer and can help people to stay as well as possible, for as long as possible.

Factors affecting treatment type

The choice of treatment for secondary cancer in the liver depends on:

  • where it has spread from (where the primary cancer was)
  • which parts of the liver are affected
  • whether other parts of the body are also affected.


Chemotherapy is the main treatment for secondary cancer in the liver. If chemotherapy worked well for the primary cancer, then chemotherapy will usually work well for secondary cancer in the liver.


Surgery can sometimes cure secondary liver cancer, but unfortunately this is not possible for most people with this illness. It is usually only possible when the cancer has spread into the liver from a cancer in the bowel. It is most commonly used if the cancer cells affect only one area of the liver and there is no evidence of cancer anywhere else in the body. In this situation it is sometimes possible to cure the cancer.

If the secondary cancer in the liver is affecting more than one area of the liver it is not usually possible to remove all of the cancer cells with surgery. However, sometimes a combination of surgery with other methods of treatment (such as chemotherapy or the newer treatments) may still be used to reduce the amount of cancer in the body.

Other treatments

Radiotherapy is not usually used to treat secondary cancer in the liver. However, it may be used to relieve symptoms of pain and discomfort and also sickness.

Hormonal therapies are sometimes used.

Planning your treatment

Your doctor will plan your treatment taking into account a number of factors including:

  • the part of the body the primary cancer started from
  • your general health
  • the type and size of the cancer.

All treatments have side effects and it is helpful to discuss with your doctor the possible benefits and side effects of any treatment that you are offered, so that you can decide which treatment best suits your particular situation.

Secondary liver cancer and its treatment may affect your ability to work. Cancerbackup has information about employment issues and cancer.

Via: http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk

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