If liver cancer is diagnosed, your doctor needs to learn the extent (stage) of the disease to help you choose best treatment. Staging is an attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.
Stages of liver cancer
For example, cancer cells may be found in the lungs, the bones and in the lymph nodes that are located near the liver. The stages of liver cancer are generally defined as:
Stage 1 - Characterized by a single tumor confined to the liver that has not grown or invaded blood vessels.
Stage 2 - A single tumor grown to invade nearby blood vessels, or multiple small tumors in the liver.
Stage 3 - Cancer at this stage is often composed of several larger tumors or one large tumor that has grown to invade main liver veins or nearby organs, such as the gallbladder.
Stage 4 - At this stage, liver cancer has spread beyond the liver to other areas of the body.
After staging, you can begin treatment. To learn more about treatment options that can make daily life easier for people with liver cancer, read the section on liver cancer treatment for additional information.