If your healthcare provider believes you may have liver cancer, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure. You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.
He or she will also give you a physical exam, including an exam of your liver. You may have one or more of the following tests.
- Computed tomography (CT scans). During this imaging test, X-rays create cross-sectional images of the liver.
- X-rays. These quick and easy imaging studies use radiation to create images of the structures within the body.
- Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of body tissues on a computer screen. Ultrasounds do not use radiation.
A biopsy removes tissue or cells from the liver to be checked by a pathologist under a microscope. Results from a biopsy help determine if cells are cancerous.
A liver biopsy is often done with local anesthesia, which uses medicine to numb the area of the liver where a needle will be inserted.
A biopsy may be performed with imaging guidance. Ask your provider about your specific type of biopsy to learn more.
Lab tests measure liver function and screen for hepatitis.
Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.
When you are diagnosed with liver cancer, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.
Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent liver cancer, with a focus on individualized patient care.
Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the one and only NCI-designated cancer program in Kentucky, Markey can serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including liver cancer.
Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.
Should I get a second opinion?
A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating liver cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:
- You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
- A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
- There may be uncertainty around the stage of liver cancer.
- You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
- Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.
Questions to ask when getting a second opinion
After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:
- Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
- Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
- Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
- What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- How long are treatment recovery periods?