Risks and prevention

Know your risks to help prevent liver cancer

Your lifestyle and other conditions can impact your risk for liver cancer.

Talk with your doctor about your risk factors, which can include:

  • Alcoholism

  • Cirrhosis

  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol

  • Hepatitis B

  • Hepatitis C

You can make changes to prevent liver cancer:

  • Avoid heavy alcohol consumption

  • Don’t smoke

  • Eat a healthy diet

  • Get a hepatitis B vaccine

  • Get treatment for a chronic hepatitis B infection

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Symptoms and diagnosis

How we diagnose liver cancer

Liver cancer includes hepatocellular carcinoma and bile duct cancer. You might experience symptoms including:

  • Discomfort in your upper abdomen

  • Easy bruising or bleeding

  • Fever

  • Hard lump on your right side, below your rib cage

  • Jaundice

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Pain near your right shoulder blade or in your back

  • Pale, chunky bowel movements

  • Swollen abdomen

  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

  • Weight loss for no known reason

There is no standard screening for liver cancer. If your risk is high enough with hepatitis B or C, regular imaging may be helpful. Your doctor may notice changes in your liver function from routine blood work. If you show signs of liver cancer, certain tests can help make a diagnosis. 

Your doctor may order:

  • Imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans

  • Liver biopsy

  • Liver function test

  • Physical exam

  • Serum marker test

  • Tumor marker test

  • Ultrasound

Treatments and research

Advanced liver cancer treatments

Your liver cancer team provides treatment options for your specific type of cancer. Whenever possible, we perform surgery to remove tumors from the liver. In very selected cases, liver transplant is possible. If surgery or transplant is not possible, we offer care to shrink or destroy the cancer cells.

Your treatment might include:

  • Chemoembolization or radioembolization

  • Microwave or radiofrequency ablation

  • Radiation therapy

  • Systemic chemotherapy

Improving care with research

Our liver cancer doctors study new treatments and prevention methods to improve care for you. If you are a candidate, your doctor will talk with you about taking part in a clinical trial. Learn more

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UW Carbone Cancer Center
Patient and family visitor guide

To help you feel comfortable during your stay at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, we invite you to learn about our facility and the services we offer.

Meet our team

Cancer experts on your team

Medical oncology
Radiation oncology


Liver cancer care locations

The liver cancer specialists at UW Health provide complete liver cancer care at the UW Carbone Cancer Center in Madison.

  • Wisconsin Institutes for Medical REsearc
    Wisconsin Institutes for Medical REsearc
    UW Carbone Cancer Center
    • 600 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
    • Closed now
    • The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center is a pioneer in cancer research and quality patient care. It is the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, as designated by the National Cancer Institute.

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  • 1 S. Park ClinicHematology and Oncology Clinic
    • 1 S. Park St. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 287-2552
    • Closed now
    • View hours, services and more
  • Swedish Cancer Center
    Swedish Cancer Center
    SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center
    • 3535 N Bell School Road / Rockford, IL
    • (779) 696-9400
    • Closed now
    • Patients here have convenient local access to UW Health cancer specialists in areas such as breast cancer, head-and-neck cancer, endocrine cancer, and thoracic surgical and abdominal surgical oncology.

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  • UW Health Johnson Creek
    UW Health Johnson Creek
    UW Cancer Center Johnson Creek
    • 250 Doctors Ct. / Johnson Creek, WI
    • (920) 699-3500
    • Closed now
    • UW Cancer Center Johnson Creek offers the people of southeastern Wisconsin local access to leading-edge research and treatments offered by the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center in Madison.

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  • UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care
    • N16 W24131 Riverwood Drive / Waukesha, WI
    • Open now
    • Partnered with the UW Carbone Cancer Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, UW Health Cancer Center at ProHealth Care offers world-class cancer care in a comforting setting close to home.

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Patient and support services

All the support and services you need

At UW Health, we provide you and your family with quality patient care and extensive support, including: