Hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) are also known as primary liver cancers, hepatic tumors, or hepatomas.
HCC develops in the liver and affects 20,000 to 25,000 people in the United States each year.
Conditions or diseases associated with HCC include:
Approximately 30 percent of people with HCC show no evidence of an associated condition or disease.
Many people with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have no symptoms until the disease becomes advanced.
Common symptoms include:
In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may order the following tests to help diagnose HCC:
Imaging studies — such as CT scans, MRI scans, or abdominal ultrasounds — can show:
A bone scan may also be performed to check for the presence of cancer in the bone.
Blood tests will evaluate:
Blood tests also help doctors determine your general health and how well your liver works, including whether you have been exposed, in the past, to hepatitis B or hepatitis C, and whether the hepatitis is active.
A liver biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue for testing to prove or disprove the existence of HCC.
In addition to a biopsy of the tumor:
If the CT scan suggests thrombosis (clotting), you may need a needle-aspiration biopsy of the portal vein. The portal vein drains blood from the gastrointestinal tract and spleen to the liver.
This type of biopsy helps doctors determine whether the tumor is actually invading the portal vein. Invasion of the portal vein by a tumor has major consequences for the long-term outcome of liver transplantation for HCC.
The UPMC Liver Cancer Center's multidisciplinary team of experts offers several treatment options for people with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Depending on the size and location of your tumor and the general health of your liver, you may be a candidate for surgical removal of the tumor(s).
UPMC’s liver surgeons are among the most experienced in the United States at minimally invasive liver surgery, which is performed through three or four small incisions in the abdomen.
We perform this technique, whenever possible, to reduce:
To schedule an appointment, or for more information, call the UPMC Liver Cancer Center, toll-free, at 1-855-745-4837.