Liver Cancer

Many cancers of the liver, called hepatobiliary cancers, exhibit no outward symptoms to patients before diagnosis.

When you hear the word cancer, there’s a whole range of emotions that washes over you – shock, anger, fear.

Meet Our Liver Cancer Specialists

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What Are Symptoms of Liver Cancer?

Symptoms of liver cancer include:

  • A hard lump on the right side just below the rib cage.
  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side.
  • A swollen abdomen.
  • Pain near the right shoulder blade or in the back.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite or feelings of fullness after eating a small meal.
  • Weight loss for no known reason.
  • Pale, chalky bowel movements and dark urine.
  • Fever.

What Are Types of Liver Cancer?

The primary types of adult liver cancer are:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of adult liver cancer.
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer)

The primary types of childhood liver cancer are:

  • Hepatoblastoma is the most common type of childhood liver cancer. It usually affects children younger than 3 years of age.
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma usually affects older children and adolescents. It is more common in areas of Asia that have high rates of hepatitis infection than in the U.S.

What Are Treatments for Liver Cancer?

Every available treatment option is considered to determine the most effective care and give liver cancer patients the best possible outcome. Specialized treatment teams in hepatobiliary cancer include gastroenterologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists and radiation oncology experts. Each week these specialists come together to diagnose and stage cancers as well as address challenging patient issues. Together they decide the best course of action based on blood tests, MRI findings, and the size and number of liver masses present. Interventional radiologists may be called upon to perform procedures like chemo embolization or cryoablation to freeze the mass. In addition, particularly difficult cases are presented quarterly at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Conference.

A dedicated team of nurse practitioners helps patients manage issues and symptoms, and. Integrative medicine techniques like Reiki and accupunture help manage symptoms from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Whenever appropriate, we connect patients with clinical trials offering the most promising advances in treating their liver cancer. We make sure to support patients with any resources they (and their families) may need.

In some hepatobiliary cancer cases, a liver transplant is recommended. We are unique among regional health systems in having a very experienced Liver Transplantation Program. They provide the highest quality of patient-centered transplant care in a community setting. Our physicians, coordinators and nursing staff are all highly trained with many years of experience providing pre-operative, peri-operative and post-transplant care.

What Are Risks for Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer is uncommon in the United States, but is the fourth most common cancer in the world. In the United States, men, especially Chinese American men, have a greater risk of developing liver cancer.

Other factors can increase your risk of liver cancer:

  • Having hepatitis, especially hepatitis C, or cirrhosis
  • Eating foods tainted with the fungus aflatoxin which can occur if foods have not been stored properly

How is Liver Cancer Diagnosed?

There is no routine screening test for liver cancer. The following procedures are being used to screen for liver cancer:

  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • Tumor marker tests

Meet our Liver Cancer Specialists:

Name Specialties Location
Bliss, Lindsay Ann, MD, MPH 860.246.2071
  • Surgical Oncology
  • General Surgery
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  • Hartford
  • Bloomfield
  • Farmington
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Cha, Charles, MD, FACS 203.576.6141
  • Surgical Oncology
  • General Surgery
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  • Bridgeport
Curtis, David Eugene, MD 860.246.2071
  • Hepatobiliary and Surgical Oncology
  • General Surgery
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  • Hartford
  • Glastonbury
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Einstein, Michael Mark, MD 860.972.4262
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Transplant Hepatology
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  • Hartford
Elias, Rawad, MD 860.249.6291
  • Medical Oncology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Hematology / Oncology
  • Internal Medicine
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  • Hartford
  • Hartford
  • Willimantic
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Schipper, Bret Mitchell, MD, FACS, CPE 860.696.2040
  • Surgical Oncology
  • General Surgery
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  • Hartford
  • New Britain
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Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute