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Adult Primary Liver Cancer Treatment

Stages of Adult Primary Liver Cancer

After adult primary liver cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the liver or to other parts of the body.

The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the liver or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

The following stages are used for adult primary liver cancer:

Stage I

In stage I, there is one tumor and it has not spread to nearby blood vessels.


Pea, peanut, walnut, and lime show tumor sizes.
Pea, peanut, walnut, and lime show tumor sizes.

Stage II

In stage II, one of the following is found:

Stage III

Stage III is divided into Stage IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC.

Stage IV

In stage IV, cancer has spread beyond the liver to other places in the body, such as the bones or lungs. The tumors may be of any size and may also have spread to nearby blood vessels and/or lymph nodes.

For adult primary liver cancer, stages are also grouped according to how the cancer may be treated. There are 3 treatment groups:

Localized resectable

The cancer is found in the liver only, has not spread, and can be completely removed by surgery.

Localized and locally advanced unresectable

The cancer is found in the liver only and has not spread, but cannot be completely removed by surgery.

Advanced

Cancer has spread throughout the liver or has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs and bone.