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Liver cancer

Diagnosis of liver cancer

Liver cancer can be diagnosed through a variety of tests. Most commonly, your doctor will identify one or more signs of liver cancer during a physical exam. If you report experiencing any of the symptoms frequently associated with liver cancer, your doctor will confirm with testing.

Some standard diagnostic methods include:

  • Imaging such as ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, or angiograms to visualize your liver and check for masses, which may be cancerous
  • Blood tests to look for common cancer markers or enzymes in your blood that can indicate an immune response from cancer
  • Liver biopsy, in which a small amount of tissue is removed from the liver for analysis


Cancer treatment broadly aims to prevent the growth and spread of new cancer cells and to remove existing cancerous cells. The exact treatment you receive will likely depend on the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with, its location, and if/how far it has spread. Your treatment choices also depend on the health of the rest of your liver and your overall condition.

There are several treatment options, and research is ongoing regarding new potential treatment avenues.

The most common treatments for liver cancer currently include surgery to remove cancer cells, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies. Tumor ablation and embolization are other choices.

Ablation is a procedure that destroys tumors using heat, cold, or another form of energy. Embolization blocks blood flow to the tumor, essentially starving it of oxygen and the nutrients it needs to grow.

Dignity Health provides compassionate and comprehensive diagnosis and care for liver cancer. Find a Doctor to learn more about the condition or get an expert evaluation.

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.