Liver Cancer

The Northside Hospital Cancer Institute (NHCI) Liver & Pancreas Cancer Program provides comprehensive hepatobiliary (liver, bile ducts and gallbladder) and pancreatic cancer care and treatment services.

In 2018, it was estimated that approximately 42,000 people in the US would be diagnosed with a cancer of the liver, bile ducts or gallbladder, according to the American Cancer Society.

NHCI's Liver & Pancreas Cancer Program is committed to providing safe and effective care to patients diagnosed with hepatobiliary cancer, from early detection to cancer treatment and survivorship.

What Is Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer is a type of hepatobiliary cancer, or cancers of the biliary system including the liver, bile ducts or gallbladder. Liver cancer is classified as either a primary cancer (cancer that originates in the liver) or a secondary cancer (metastatic liver cancer or cancer that originates in another organ and spreads to the liver).

Learn more about liver cancer.

Liver Cancer Symptoms

Many times patients with liver cancer do not experience symptoms until later stages of the disease, but in some cases, symptoms may show up sooner.

When they occur, the most common symptoms of liver cancer may include:

  • Jaundice (a yellow color in the skin, mucous membranes, or white part of the eyes)
  • Decreased appetite or unintended weight loss
  • Feeling full after a small meal
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen or near the right shoulder blade
  • Enlarged liver or spleen

Learn more about the symptoms of liver cancer.

Liver Cancer Risk Factors

Hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC, the most common form of liver cancer, occurs more often in men than women and is usually diagnosed in people age 50 or older. In most cases, the cause of liver cancer is long-term damage and scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). People with hepatitis B or C are at high risk of liver cancer, even if they do not develop cirrhosis of the liver.

Risk factors associated with liver cancer include:

  • Chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B or hepatitis C)
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Cirrhosis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Long-term exposure to aflatoxins (cancer-causing substances made by fungus)
  • Exposure to vinyl chloride and thorium dioxide (Thorotrast)
  • Long-term anabolic steroid use
  • Prolonged consumption of drinking water contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic
  • Infection with parasites
  • Smoking and tobacco use

Learn more about the risk factors for liver cancer.

As part of our comprehensive approach to cancer prevention and education, Northside offers Built To Quit, a smoking and tobacco cessation program offering resources to help individuals quit smoking and stop using other tobacco products. For additional information please call 404-780-7653 or email  smokingcessation@northside.com or register for a class online.

2020 Built to Quit Class Schedule (English) 2020 Built to Quit Class Schedule (Spanish)

Diagnosing Liver Cancer

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute offers the following diagnostic services to diagnose liver cancer (tests used to diagnose hepatobiliary cancers vary), including:

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute offers specialized care for many different types of hepatobiliary cancers and disorders including:

Team of Liver Cancer Specialists

The strength of Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Liver & Pancreas Cancer Program is our multidisciplinary team of dedicated, specially trained liver cancer specialists and oncology support services personnel. Our expert medical team works together to develop a personalized cancer treatment plan for each liver cancer patient. Northside’s liver & pancreatic cancer care team offers a comprehensive scope of medical services, the latest technology, and leading-edge clinical research to treat hepatobiliary cancers.

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s multidisciplinary  team of liver cancer specialists consists of:

  • Hepatobiliary surgeons
  • Colorectal surgeons
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Diagnostic and interventional radiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Certified genetic counselors
  • Oncology nurse navigators
  • Oncology research nurses

NHCI’s Liver & Pancreas Cancer Program holds weekly multidisciplinary conferences providing a forum for hepatobiliary cancer specialists to review radiology and pathology images and discuss the best  Liver Cancer Treatment Options, including clinical trials, and agree upon an evidence-based treatment plan for each patient. By prospectively discussing liver cancer cases during the conference, patients get the benefit of more than a dozen expert medical opinions

Treatment Options for Liver Cancer

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute is committed to providing high quality liver cancer treatment and making access to hepatobiliary cancer care as convenient as possible. As part of a high-volume cancer center for liver surgeries, the expertise of Northside’s surgeons has resulted in surgical outcomes that meet or exceed the highest national benchmarks. Northside’s experienced hepatobiliary surgeons and surgical oncologists—including our internationally recognized medical director—provide patients with innovative surgical interventions including utilization of minimally invasive techniques.

Our accredited cancer program treats many different types of hepatobiliary cancers with the latest cancer treatments – including personalized therapies based on the cancer’s specific genetic makeup.

For more information about liver cancer treatments, please expand the content below.

Liver Cancer Support & Survivorship

Ongoing support is crucial when you are facing cancer and afterward. Our oncology nurse navigators facilitate access to Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s comprehensive portfolio of  cancer patient support and survivorship services to ensure each liver cancer patient receives coordinated and personalized care.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ALL OF OUR NHCI SUPPORT & SURVIVORSHIP SERVICES