The liver is one of the largest and most important organs in the human body. It’s responsible for filtering toxins out of the bloodstream and keeping the metabolism balanced. And just like every other organ in the body, the liver is made of cells that contain DNA. When that DNA is damaged and is no longer able to perform its function, cancer is often the result.
Due to the severity of a cancerous liver (and how important a healthy liver is), catching the signs of liver cancer early are critical for recovery.
That leaves us with a pressing question: Can liver cancer be cured? The short answer is yes; liver cancer is curable, but the chances of being cured depend on the type, stage, and treatment plan.
Liver cancer can be classified into 5 types, including:
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also known as hepatoma, is the most common type of primary liver cancer (“primary” meaning that the cancer originates in the liver). The main kind of liver cell is called a hepatocellular cell, and HCC starts there.
- Fibrolamellar HCC is a rare liver cancer that usually appears in teens and children. Surgery is the best chance for survival, with 44% to 68% of people surviving for five years after diagnosis. Without surgery, 2% to 17% survive for five years.1
- Cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, affects the ducts running from the liver to other parts of the body. About 8,000 people in the US are diagnosed with this cancer every year, making it a rare cancer.2 It can be broken down into two types:
- Intrahepatic – This type of cancer occurs inside the liver in the hepatic bile ducts or in the intrahepatic biliary ducts.
- Extrahepatic – This cancer is found in perihilar and distal bile ducts, which form the common bile duct and pass to other nearby organs, like the pancreas.
- Hepatic angiosarcoma is a cancer that affects the blood vessels along the lining of the liver. It accounts for 2% of all liver cancers, and has low survival rates as compared to other types of liver cancer.3
- Secondary liver cancer, also known as liver metastasis, occurs when the liver cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Secondary cancer typically first shows up as colon or colorectal cancer, but it can spread to the bones, lungs, stomach, and more.
Liver Cancer Stages
Liver cancer is either primary or secondary cancer, depending on where the cancer has spread. Secondary is advanced, while primary liver cancer means a liver tumor has been identified but has not progressed to liver metastasis yet.
No matter the type of liver cancer, it progresses in four distinct stages:
- Stage I: The primary tumor hasn’t grown into any blood vessels yet, and cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant sites. The five-year survival rate (referring to how long a patient survives after diagnosis) is around 33%.4
- Stage II: The tumor has grown into the blood vessels or multiple small tumors are present. The cancer has still not reached the lymph nodes or other areas.
- Stage III: Several tumors are found, at least one of which is large and growing (or grown) into the exiting veins or outer covering of the liver. The cancer hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or distant areas.
- Stage IV: The cancer has spread to lymph nodes and may have grown into the blood vessels and organs. Advanced liver cancer doesn’t always turn into secondary or metastatic liver cancer, but if it does, it can cause other types of cancer.
If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or to the nearby lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 11%. If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the five-year survival rate is 2%. These odds may look frightening, but early identification of liver cancer increases the chances for survival significantly. Additionally, choosing the correct cancer treatment option and using targeted therapy is imperative for better quality of life and survival.
Treatments for Liver Cancer
There are many liver cancer treatment options and some may be curative depending on the stage and type.
The only way to cure liver cancer and liver failure currently is to have a liver transplant (where the cancerous liver is removed and replaced by a healthy liver), or a liver resection (where the cancer is removed from the local area through a liver surgery).5 Patients must be in stage I or II for these procedures to be viable.
These operations are performed only if the patient is healthy and doesn’t have a complicated disease like cirrhosis. Few patients identify liver cancer in time for transplant or resection, but those that do have a higher chance of survival.
Patients with unresectable and inoperable liver cancers must weigh other options for treatment, like a chemotherapy drug, radiation therapy, and localized treatments. These therapies are designed to kill cancer6 cells to prevent further liver damage, but they can also kill healthy body cells (this is why cancer patients often lose their hair when undergoing treatment). Cancer treatments come with a host of unpleasant side effects, but choosing not to have treatment of any kind is far worse.
Because of the toll cancer therapies can take on the body, some patients opt for less invasive, alternative treatments like rife machine therapy, laetrile therapy, and immunotherapy—all of which focus on strengthening the body’s natural defenses.
Fight Liver Cancer With Immunity Therapy Center
The survival rates of liver cancer depend upon the type and stage of the cancer. While liver cancer is curable through transplant or resection, few patients identify the cancer in time for operation. Early diagnosis is the key, and regularly seeing your doctor is the best preventative measure you can take.
Because we understand how taxing traditional cancer treatments are, Immunity Therapy Center has cultivated and centralized a wide variety of alternative treatments into one place. We create a personalized treatment plan for each individual, and we make the process easy on your mind and your body.
We can give your body the boost it needs at Immunity Therapy Center.
- Cancer.org. Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/genetics/genes-and-cancer/oncogenes-tumor-suppressor-genes.html
- Cancer.org. Liver Cancer Survival Rates. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/liver-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-rates.html
- Cancer.gov Fibrolamellar Carcinoma. https://www.cancer.gov/pediatric-adult-rare-tumor/rare-tumors/rare-digestive-system-tumors/fibrolamellar-hepatocellular-carcinoma
- Cholangiocarcinoma.org. What is Cholangiocarcinoma? https://cholangiocarcinoma.org/defined/
- Cancer.net. Liver Cancer Statistics. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/liver-cancer/statistics
- Cancer.org. Liver Cancer Stages. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/liver-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/staging.html
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.