Liver Tumour

Located right above your stomach, liver is one of the most important digestive organs that helps the body in continuously filtering blood.

Liver tumours are abnormal mass that grow at an increased rate that may or may not be cancerous.

The malignant tumour is the cancer of main liver cells which is known as hepatocellular carcinoma. It is more common amongst men.

Common symptoms of liver cancer include

  • Pain in the abdomen

  • Persistent nausea and vomiting

  • Severe weight loss

  • Feeling of having a mass / lump in upper right side of the abdomen

  • Fever

  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes.​

You should make a visit to your doctor working with the Oncology Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital when you experience the above mentioned symptoms. Your doctor will investigate the conditions that you are complaining of before starting any treatments.​
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.​

Your doctor may request the following tests and procedures to help diagnose liver tumour.

Liver Biopsy: In liver biopsy procedure your doctor will remove a sample from the mass present in your liver in order to check whether it is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Imaging (radiology) tests: Imaging tests include x-rays, ultrasound, Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. Your doctor will need them for initial diagnosis and will also use the same tests to determine the stage of the cancer and whether it has spread to other organs.

Blood tests: Certain blood tests also help in indicating any abnormal functions of liver  that can further  investigated with other diagnostic tools ​.

  • ​​​​Complete Blood Count (CBC): One or more parameters related to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets might be affected in this condition.  Therefore, it is an ancillary test in the diagnostic workup of this disease.
  • Prothrombin Time (PT): One of the laboratory parameters to assess liver function, which in liver cancer, is also used in the scoring system that helps to predict prognosis and select treatment approach.   

​​Disclaimer: Kindly consult your physician before getting the above-mentioned tests.

The treatment for liver cancer will be subjected to the stage of the cancer and other factors such as your age, general health and tolerance to specific medicines or therapies. Following are the treatment options available with the Oncology Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital:

  • Tumour Surgery/ Partial hepatectomy:  In case the cancer in your liver is confined to a small area and your liver functions are good, your doctor may recommend the removal of the cancerous cells only. Decision to conduct this surgery is also dependant on the location of the tumour.

  • Tumour Ablation: In this procedure your doctor will insert a thin needle directly in to the tumour to destroy the cancerous cells. Usually either of the two most common procedures are used.

    • Cryotherapy/freezing of the cancer cells: In this procedure the doctor freezes the tumour cells

    • Radio frequency ablations/heating of cancer cells: In this procedure your doctor destroys the tumour cells by heating them through electric current.

  • Embolization therapy: In this procedure in which your doctor will inject a substance in one of the liver arteries to block the blood supply to cancer cell. Once the procedure is complete the cancers cells start to die. Some of the common embolization therapy includes arterial embolization, chemoembolization, and radioembolization.

  • Radiation therapy. In radiation therapy, the patient is exposed to high energy rays that kill or shrinks liver cancer cells. The type of radiation and its dosage is decided by your doctor after investigating the tumour however the role of radiation is limited.

  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a treatment in which your doctor will use anti cancer drug or combination of drugs to kill cancer cells. However in case of liver cancers, role of chemotherapy is limited.​​

Please click here​ for some guidelines on “what to do before your surgery”.​
Please click he​re​ for some guidelines on “what to do on the day of your surgery”.​

All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk. Although rare, the possible complications for liver cancer surgery include:

  • Complications associated with anaesthesia, such as pain, an allergic reaction, bloating, gas or diarrhoea.

  • Infection

  • Scarring

  • Bleeding

  • Healing problems or re-opening of wound​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately.

You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.