Supportive care for liver cancer

Supportive care helps people meet the physical, practical, emotional and spiritual challenges of liver cancer. It is an important part of cancer care. There are many programs and services available to help meet the needs and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer and their loved ones, especially after treatment has ended.

Recovering from liver cancer and adjusting to life after treatment is different for each person, depending on the stage of the cancer, the type of treatment and many other factors. The end of cancer treatment may bring mixed emotions. Even though treatment has ended, there may be other issues to deal with, such as coping with long-term side effects. A person who has been treated for liver cancer may have the following concerns.

Living with advanced liver cancer

Most people have advanced liver cancer when they are diagnosed. Advanced cancer means that cancer is unlikely to be cured. Treatment is focused on relieving symptoms, controlling the cancer and improving quality of life.

People with liver cancer are often in poor health because their liver no longer works properly. Talk to your healthcare team about ways to manage the following symptoms:

Find out more about choosing care and treatment for advanced cancer.

Questions to ask about supportive care

To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about supportive care.

Expert review and references

  • Fong Y, Dupuy DE, Feng M, Abou-Alfa G . Cancer of the liver. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, & Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 52:696-714.
  • Grenon NN . Liver cancer. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. (eds.). Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2011: 58: pp. 1399-1423.
  • Kumar M, Panda D . Role of supportive care for terminal stage hepatocellular carcinoma. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology. 2014.
  • Sherman M, Burak K, Maroun J, Metrakos P, Knox JJ, Myers RP, Guindi M, et al . Multidisciplinary Canadian consensus recommendations for the management and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. Current Oncology. 2011: http://www.current-oncology.com/index.php/oncology/article/view/952/737.