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Liver Cancer (cont.)

Prognosis for Liver Cancer

The outcome of hepatoma is extremely variable and depends as much upon the state of the liver and the person's health as on any characteristic of the cancer itself. Patients with more than a solitary tumor in the setting of cirrhosis might not live for six months, while those able to undergo surgery of transplant might be fully cured. Therapies such as radiofrequency ablation, chemoembolization, cryoablation, radiosurgery, radioembolization, and systemic therapy are frequently performed sequentially over a patient's lifetime, depending upon the changes as the disease progresses. Average survival for patients who are able to be treated with these methods is between one and two years.

Despite these grim statistics, there is still room for optimism in this disease. Creative use of multiple techniques can lead to significant prolongation of a patient's life, while keeping them feeling as well as possible. Experimental drugs are becoming increasingly common as researchers have recognized the molecular defects causing this cancer and using this knowledge to develop new targets. The evolution and improvement in radiologic and interventional technology for treating localized tumors has meant that millions of people who would previously never have been treated have experienced meaningful prolongation of their lives. In fact, the chance of living for more than two years with hepatoma has more than doubled since the early 1990s. Increased medical, scientific, and pharmaceutical attention to this difficult disease will undoubtedly make this even better in the future.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2013

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