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

Three sets of hands holding a yellow ribbon symbolizing cancer
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

Surgeons
Medical oncology
Radiation oncology

Locations

Liver cancer care locations

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

    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: