Being told you have liver cancer can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about the cancer and about your treatment options can help you feel less afraid. It also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
You’ll likely have different types of healthcare providers on your healthcare team. These might include:
Gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the digestive system, including the liver.
Surgical oncologist (oncologic surgeon). This is a doctor who uses surgery to treat cancer.
Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medicines, such as immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or chemotherapy.
Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
Interventional radiologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with treatments such as embolizations and ablations.
Many other healthcare providers will be part of your team as well, including oncology nurses, a dietitian, social worker, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. They will answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may mean getting tests and working with more than one healthcare provider. And you may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment. Your team can help you do this. It can help you feel better about the choices you make.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also join support groups to talk with other people coping with liver cancer. Ask your healthcare team about local or online support groups.