For many people, the first stage of diagnosing liver cancer is a consultation with a GP, although people at risk are usually tested regularly for the condition.
If you visit your GP, they'll ask about your symptoms,when they started, and when they're noticeable. They'll also examine you.
If they feelyou need further tests, you'll be referred to a hospital specialist. Some of the tests you may have are described below.
If you're in a high-risk group for developing liver cancer, regular screening known as surveillance is often recommended. This is because the earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chance there is of curing it.
Surveillance is usually carried out every six months andoften involves:
Surveillance is usually recommended if you have cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), although there are other factors that can also affect your risk of livercancer.
The potential benefits of surveillance shouldbe discussed with you beforeyou enterany screening programme.
The tests above can also be used to look for liver cancer in people who aren't being routinely screened.
If these initialtests suggest there's a chance you could have liver cancer, one or more further tests will usually be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.
The further tests include:
Afterthese tests have been carried out, it's usually possible to confirm a diagnosis of liver cancer and determine the condition's "stage".
Staging is a term used to describe how far a particular cancer has spread. There are a number of different systems used to stage liver cancer.
Many liver cancer specialists use combination staging systems that include features of both the cancer and the underlying liver function to stage a person's condition.
This is because the length of time a person lives and how well theytolerate potential treatments will be determined not only by how advanced their cancer is, but also by their level of health and how good their underlying liver function is.
One combination system for staging liver cancer is known as the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system. The BCLC staging system consists of five stages. These are:
on the Cancer Research UK website.
Read about primary liver cancer, an uncommon but serious type of cancer that begins in the liver.
Read about diagnosing liver cancer. For many people, the first stage of diagnosing liver cancer is a consultation with a GP
The treatment for liver cancer depends on the stage of the condition. Treatment can include surgery and medication.