Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer. Most cases of HCC are caused by hepatitis (B or C) or cirrhosis. Excessive alcohol is also associated with an increased risk of HCC.
Most people with HCC do not have many symptoms until the cancer tumors have become very large and affect a large part of the liver. Abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes), unexplained or unintentional weight loss, enlarged abdomen, or other signs of liver failure are symptoms that may appear.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you or your family member has been diagnosed with HCC, or you believe you are having symptoms might indicate the disease, you should see your primary care physician immediately. You should make an appointment with a hepatologist to discuss your symptoms and possible need for further testing.
Diagnosing liver cancer involves blood testing, and imaging of the abdomen and other areas of the body. Initially, blood tests for liver function and cancer markers are performed. Ultrasound, CT or MRI scans are used to examine the size of the tumor and whether there is spread of the cancer to other areas of the body. A liver biopsy may or may not be necessary, depending on the results of these tests.
Treating HCC requires a team of physicians and support staff. There are multiple treatment options, depending the number of tumors and their size and type and whether the cancer has spread to other organs. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and transplant surgery are among the options for treatment.
At NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, a dedicated team of physicians and support staff including oncologists (cancer doctors), radiation oncologists (cancer doctors specially trained in radiation therapy), surgeons, hepatologists, and radiologists work together to care for patients with liver cancer.. We offer some of the most sophisticated and advanced treatment options. Advanced non-surgical treatment options performed at NYPBMH include: percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI), transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE), and radiofrequency ablation (RFAAs).
A member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System, NYPBMH serves as a major transplant referral center. Our hepatologists assess patients as candidates for liver transplant and are closely involved in their care before and after the procedure. After transplantation, they work closely with patients to ensure the best outcome and to watch for any potential complications.