Surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the most common treatment types for cancer and may be used alone or in combination to treat lung cancer of the lung. Your doctor will plan your treatment by taking into consideration the type and size of the tumour, whether the cancer has spread, your age and general health.

Surgery

Surgery is the main treatment for primary liver cancer. The most appropriate type of surgery depends on the size of the cancer and whether or not it has spread. If the cancer is in its early stages, it may be completely removed by this method. If the cancer cells have spread, your doctor may consider using surgery in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation to alleviate the symptoms. An operation to remove the affected part of the liver is called a liver resection. If during the operation they remove a whole lobe of the liver, it is called a lobectomy.
If you want to know more about surgery, visit our information on coping with treatment.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells which work by disrupting the growth of cancer cells. The drugs are sometimes given orally or more usually intravenously (injection into a vein). Doctors may advise having chemotherapy and radiotherapy together before or after surgery to minimise the chances of cancer returning. It is also used when cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.

If you want to know more about chemotherapy, visit our information on coping with treatment.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is not usually used to treat liver cancer however it may be used to shrink a large tumour or to relieve pain and symptoms.

Other treatments for liver cancer include transarterial chemoembolization (blocking blood vessels from supplying nutrients to the cancer tumour), injection of alcohol (using high concentration alcohol to inject directly to the tumor to dry up cancer cells), radiofrequency ablation (thermal technique to destroy tumour tissue), cryotherapy (use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy cancer cells), laser treatment and liver transplant.

Remember to discuss with your doctors the best option for you.

Side effects

Cancer treatments can cause a range of side effects. For more information on common side effects and tips on how to manage cope, please click here.

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