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Cancer Center
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Need a Second Opinion?

If you'd like to schedule an appointment for a second opinion, call 434.924.9333.

Need a Second Opinion?

If you'd like to schedule an appointment for a second opinion, call 434.924.9333.



If you need to speak with someone about your appointment, call 434.924.9333.

Make an Appointment

If you'd like to make an appointment or get a second opinion, call 434.924.9333.


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Liver Cancer

Liver cancer screening is recommended for patients with chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. The current screening recommendation from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases is to get a liver ultrasound every 6 months.

Patients with chronic liver disease and cirrhosis are typically managed and screened by the Digestive Health Center.

  • Patients with known diagnosis of primary colorectal or neuroendocrine cancer should have consistent monitoring for development of metastases.
  • Patients with primary colorectal or neuroendocrine cancer are followed by their oncologist or surgeon.

Patients who have been diagnosed with liver masses, cysts, tumors, cancer or any other specific radiographic or pathologic abnormalities and want to establish care at UVA should call 434.924.1523.

There are no screening recommendations for the general population. However, routine liver cancer screenings are advised. Call our surgical oncology clinic at 434.924.2839.

Liver Cancer Risk

Factors that may increase you chance of liver cancer include:

  • Sex: male
  • Age: 40 and older
  • Infection with the hepatitis B virus or the hepatitis C virus
  • Formation of scar tissue in the liver, also known as cirrhosis
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Exposure to an infectious agent, such as a liver fluke, which are found in southern Pacific countries
  • Hemochromatosis —abnormal collection of iron in body tissues
  • Hereditary metabolic disorders such as alpha-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency and tyrosinemia
  • Exposure to certain chemicals:
    • Aflatoxin
    • Vinyl chloride and thorium dioxide
    • Anabolic steroids
    • Arsenic
Image of the location of the liver inthe human body, with a close-up of liver cancer due to cirrhosis of the liver.
Liver Cancer Due to Cirrhosis
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Liver cancer can cause the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Nausea
  • Dark urine
  • Excessive itchiness of the skin
  • Confusion and increased sleepiness
  • Yellowing of the skin and/or the whites of the eye


Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:

  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy

Your doctor may need to view images of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

  • X-ray
  • Angiogram
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Laparoscopy


Surgery is the only curative procedure in liver cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can reduce symptoms associated with the cancer. They are not considered curative by themselves.

  • Surgery
  • Cryosurgery
  • Ethanol ablation
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Sorafenib (Nexavar)
  • Biological therapy


To reduce your risk of getting liver cancer:

  • If you use needles to inject medication or drugs, always use a clean needle. Do not share needles with anyone.
  • Use condoms when having sexual intercourse if you or your partner is not in a monogamous relationship or if you don't know if your partner has hepatitis.
  • Have children vaccinated against hepatitis B.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.