Liver Cancer Treatment Options

The liver cancer team at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin is a group of specialists who have extensive experience in treating patients with challenging liver malignancies. Because they focus on liver cancer, they understand the many nuances of the disease, including diagnosis, and are up-to-date on the most current and advanced treatment options.

Every patient in the program receives a multidisciplinary treatment plan. Our team includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, hepatologists, transplant surgeons, and specialized diagnostic radiologists and pathologists. These experts meet weekly to discuss patients and ensure every individual is receiving the most effective care.

Committed to clinical excellence, our team members provide the full range of standard and innovative therapies for liver cancer. Their dedication to research and education ensures patients benefit from the latest knowledge of liver cancer treatment.

Treatment Options

Most patients with liver cancer require several different kinds of treatment. The liver cancer team works together to make sure all patient care is fully coordinated.

Surgery

For patients with early-stage liver cancer, surgical removal of the tumor offers the best chance of a cure. Surgeons at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin provide the full range of standard and advanced liver procedures, including minimally invasive surgeries for eligible patients.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation is an important element of treatment for many patients with liver cancer. Radiation oncologists work closely with other specialists to ensure radiation therapy is completely coordinated with the overall care plan.

Drug Therapy

Newer drug agents are contributing to improved outcomes for patients with liver cancer. Chemotherapy is an important part of effective new drug therapies for colorectal cancers that have spread to the liver, and is often used in combination with other therapies.

Interventional Radiology

Minimally invasive interventional radiology (IR) procedures can destroy liver tumors, deliver drugs and radiation directly to the site of the cancer, and set the stage for other treatments.

Liver Transplant

Patients with early liver cancer may be eligible for liver transplantation. The first liver transplant in Wisconsin took place at Froedtert Hospital in 1983. Since then, transplant surgeons in our program have performed hundreds of transplant procedures, and lead the region in outcomes.

Clinical Trials

The liver cancer team at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin is actively involved in national research programs offering patients access to new clinical treatment protocols.

Prepare for Your Appointment

As a patient, you may first be seen by your family doctor who may then refer you to a liver specialist called a hepatologist. During your visit with your liver specialist, you will go through a complete history, physical examination and assessment. You and your doctor will discuss treatment options that are best for you. Make sure you get the most out of your appointment.

  • Forward medical records to the hepatologist.
  • Write down key personal information, such as "single mother of three" or "live alone."
  • Write down any symptoms that you are experiencing, such as nausea, fatigue or weight changes.
  • Write a list of questions for your doctor.
    • About your cancer
    • Stage of your cancer
    • Tests that will be needed
    • Your treatment options
    • Any side effects of treatment

After Treatment

You will need periodic blood tests and repeat imaging to assess for cancer recurrence. Your doctor will determine the timing of these tests. If the cancer comes back, your doctor will discuss different treatment options including but not limited to surgery, ablation, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of approaches. You should follow your doctor’s instructions about visits, tests and medications.

You should also inform your doctor about any side effects of treatment.