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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is liver cancer diagnosed?

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  • Dr Andrew Rees

    GP (General Practitioner)

    Keenly involved in all aspects of General Practice. Special interests include skin surgery, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, general dermatology, chronic pain and neurological problems. View Profile

    There is no screening test or symptom that permits the diagnosis of liver cancer in the early stages. The patient's health history including chronic liver disease, in particular Hepatitis B or C, can be a useful clue. Clinical signs such as jaundice tend to occur late in the disease. Most of the signs that we see are those that belong more to chronic liver disease than to the cancer itself.

    Where there is a suspicion then blood tests such as the Alpha Fetaprotein test, and other liver function tests can be indicative that further investigations are warranted. Follow up with ultrasound and/or CT might then be arranged. Finally, a biopsy of the liver to locate cancer cells can be performed.

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