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Primary Liver Cancer / Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)

Primary Liver Cancer / Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) - Treatments

​Surgery is often the best treatment for liver cancer when it is at an early stage and hasn't spread to nearby blood vessels. Other methods have not been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating liver cancer. However, because liver cancer is frequently associated with liver damage (cirrhosis) and surgery may not be possible for some patients.

As surgery is the only effective method for treating liver cancer, it is important that a person with suspected liver cancer has a proper assessment by a specialist team lead by a liver surgeon is known as a Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) surgeon. Liver surgery is currently safe and effective in treating liver cancer if amenable.

Surgery for Liver cancer includes cutting out the liver tumor (Liver resection) or replacing the whole liver with a new liver (liver transplant)

  • Liver transplant – A small selected group of patients may be suitable for a liver transplantation.
  • Liver resection – This is the treatment of choice in patients with a solitary tumor and without liver cirrhosis
  • Ablation – This destroys the cancer by energy via a long needle (probe) inserted under guidance with intense heat, cold or alcohol. This may be suitable as first line treatment for a  small tumour in a suitable location
  • Embolisation – This uses the targeted delivery of chemotherapy drugs (chemoembolization) or radiation-laden micro-beads (radio-embolization) via a feeding blood vessel. This is performed as a procedure through the blood vessel in the groin. This can be effective in controlling the tumour and sometimes reducing the size as well.
  • Chemotherapy – Generally, liver cancer is quite resistant to chemotherapy. Targeted therapy such as Sorafenib has shown promise in large studies in advanced cases not suitable for surgery.
  • Clinical Trials – Clinical trials test new drugs, surgical techniques and strategies for advancing treatment. There may be suitable clinical trials available for selected patients. Please consult your specialist for advice.
  • Combination of various treatment options may be offered as well to optimise the treatment results

Primary Liver Cancer / Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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