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I’ve Just Been Told I Have Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a type of cancer. And there are very few things scarier than being told you have cancer. You may feel like you’re in shock. You may not even want to believe what the doctor has told you. And there are probably so many questions you want to ask but think you can’t because you don’t know where to start.

First of all, it’s OK to be overwhelmed. And it’s OK to feel afraid. These are all normal feelings and responses. But you shouldn’t let these feelings stop you from finding out as much as you can about your cancer and about the options you have. The more you know, the less helpless and afraid you will feel. And the more you know, the better you will be able to work with your health care team to make the best choices for your treatment.

To decide the best treatment, your doctor needs to know as much as possible about your cancer. You may have a variety of tests and work with more than one health care professional.

For example, your health care team will include a doctor who specializes in liver disease. You also may see a liver expert, such as a hepatologist, and another cancer expert as well, called a medical oncologist. The team also may include a hepatology nurse practitioner (NP), registered nurse anesthetist, an oncology NP or nurse, a surgeon, an imaging specialist, and an interventional radiologist. You may also see a different cancer specialists, such as a radiation oncologist, or meet with a research team. The team will answer all your questions and guide you through each of the steps that you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests are being done and what the results mean. They’ll help you in making treatment decisions. Remember, you can always ask for a second opinion to ensure that you feel comfortable with your plan.

People with liver cancer now have more treatment choices and more hope for survival than ever before. Doctors keep finding new treatments for liver cancer and ways to help people with liver cancer have a better life. We are continually learning more about liver cancer and its prevention, detection, and treatment.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fincannon, Joy, RN, MN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 12/1/2013
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