LIVER AND BILIARY TRACT CANCER
Expert liver and biliary cancer care based on your needs.
What you need to know
Different types of cancers may grow in the liver or biliary tract, which includes the bile ducts and gallbladder. Treatment depends on the type and extent of the cancer. The Legacy Cancer Institute provides compassion, expertise and a personalized treatment plan for you.
- Primary liver cancer: This type of cancer begins in the liver. It may be hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is often linked to hepatitis or liver cirrhosis, or cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer of the bile ducts within the liver.
- Secondary or metastatic liver cancer: This is a cancer that started in another area of the body and has spread to the liver. It may be present at your first cancer diagnosis or may develop during or after treatment.
- Gallbladder and bile duct cancers: These cancers begin in the bile ducts, which connect the liver to the gallbladder and the intestines. These cancers may grow to include the liver or the pancreas.
Understand your diagnosis
At this point, you’ve likely had a physical exam and reviewed your health history with your provider. You may have also had a biopsy to confirm your diagnosis. Following a diagnosis of liver or biliary tract cancer, you may have more tests to help your doctor understand your cancer stage.
Cancer staging includes identifying where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and if it is affecting other parts of your body. Knowing the stage allows your doctor to develop your personalized treatment plan.
Some tests your doctor may now recommend include:
- CT scan, MRI or positron emission tomography (PET): Imaging technology to look inside the body
- Ultrasound: Uses sound waves to explore internal organs.
- Other tests: You may also have blood tests, and possibly laparoscopy (minimally invasive surgery) to look at the extent of the cancer.
Customized treatment plans
Because each person and every cancer is different, your doctor uses your tests and exams to come up with an individual treatment plan. How long this takes depends on how complex your case is and your treatment goals. During this time, you build a relationship with your cancer doctors. You become a team for your care.
Open, honest communication can only benefit your relationship with your doctors. These tips can also help you get the most from this partnership:
- Prepare in advance: Write down your questions ahead of your visits. A few examples of smart questions:
- Why are we doing these tests?
- Why do you think this treatment is right?
- What side effects might this treatment cause?
- Find trustworthy resources: If you’re looking to learn more, rely on this website or sources your team recommends, so you can make decisions based on good information.
- Take a partner: Bringing a friend or family member to appointments can make you feel more confident and help you remember important details.
Learn more about specific treatments.
You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.
National Cancer Institute: Liver and bile duct cancer overview
Cancer.net: A guide to liver cancer
Medline Plus: Liver cancer education & resources
National Cancer Institute: Liver cancer: What you need to know
Meet our providers
To learn more about liver and biliary tract cancers, contact our nurse navigators at 503-413-8888.