Liver Cancer

What is liver cancer?

When cancer cells form in the liver, this is called primary liver cancer. The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In the United States, however, most "liver cancer" is secondary or metastatic, meaning it started somewhere else and then spread to the liver.

The liver sits on the right side of the body just under the ribs. It is the largest internal organ and it is responsible for flushing out toxins and waste from the blood and also for storing nutrients needed for bodily function. All blood from our body passes through the liver, which also makes the liver more exposed to cancer cells coming from other areas of the body.

Who is at risk for liver cancer?

People who are most at risk for liver cancer include:

A person with liver cancer may be unaware of having the condition until the later stages of disease. However, a person with known risk factors may already be getting care from a doctor who can keep an eye out for signs of disease.

Symptoms of liver cancer

  • Feeling full even after a small meal
  • Having a mass under the right ribs
  • Unexplained itching
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes or skin)
  • Swollen abdomen

If you have risk factors for liver cancer or you have concerns about your symptoms, be sure to see a doctor. Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical examination before recommending certain tests, such as blood testing, CT scan, MRI and liver biopsy.


If you are diagnosed with liver cancer, your doctor can discuss your treatment options with you. Common treatment approaches include surgery, tumor ablation, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy.


Chemotherapy is used to fight almost every type of cancer and is part of the comprehensive treatment plan created by our oncologists.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to destroy abnormal cells. It may be used to treat various conditions such as cancerous tumors, cardiac arrhythmias, nerve pain and even sleep apnea caused by excess soft palate tissue.

Radiation Oncology

At Main Line Health, our expert radiation oncologists use the latest technology to give you powerful, precise treatment.

Surgical Oncology


Hematology and Blood Disorders

Whether you are fighting cancer or managing a blood disorder, the hematologists and oncologists at Main Line Health offer the comprehensive care you need.


Main Line Health gastroenterology works to resolve digestive issues and GI conditions. Find the right solution for your digestive conditions at one of our Philadelphia locations.

Cancer Care

From diagnosis and throughout treatment, Main Line Health cancer specialists (oncologists) provide compassionate care for you and your loved ones through all stages of cancer treatment.