Liver tumors and cancer

Liver cancer overview

You are at the center of everything we do at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. We surround you with a team of specialists at the Liver Tumor Clinic at University of Washington Medical Center - Montlake who work together closely to provide expertly targeted, complete care and compassionate support throughout your treatment and beyond.

We guide you every step of the way, combining our deep clinical expertise in liver, gallbladder, bile duct and related cancers with a commitment to meet your unique needs.

Following the merger of long-time partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the organization was renamed to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that also serves as UW Medicine's cancer program. 

Why choose Fred Hutch for liver cancer treatment?

  • Experienced liver cancer specialists
    Fred Hutch’s internationally recognized specialists treat more people with liver cancer than anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest. We help define the national standards for liver cancer care. If you have another cancer, such as colorectal, that has spread to your liver, we work closely with the team treating your primary disease.
  • Comprehensive liver cancer treatment
    Our doctors are experts in the full spectrum of treatments liver cancer may require. Based on the unique characteristics of your disease, your team may recommend surgery, thermal ablation, irreversible electroporation, embolization, chemotherapy, proton therapy or other radiation therapy, all available here.
  • First-of-its-kind minimally invasive care
    If your team in the Liver Tumor Clinic recommends minimally invasive therapies, you may receive care at the Center for Advanced Minimally Invasive Liver Oncologic Therapy — the first program of its kind in the region where doctors and surgeons partner to provide coordinated, minimally invasive options.
  • Liver cancer clinical trials
    To give you access to the most innovative therapies, we unite the leading researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in liver cancer clinical studies not available everywhere.
  • A national leader in cancer care
    Fred Hutch is the leading cancer treatment center in the region and among the top nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. 
  • NCI comprehensive cancer center
    We are a comprehensive cancer center, a designation from the National Cancer Institute that reflects our scientific leadership and the depth and breadth of our research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. Radiation therapy The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body. Ablation Treatment to remove or destroy all or part of a cancer; also used to remove or stop organ function. Besides surgery and drugs, other types of ablation include extreme heat, freezing and chemicals.

Treatment that removes or destroys all or part of a cancer; can also be used to remove or stop the function of an organ. For example, removing the ovaries or testicles or taking medicines that cause them to stop making their hormones would be called ablation. Besides surgery and drug treatment, other ways of ablating body tissues and tumors include extreme heat, freezing and chemicals.

Embolization Uses particles, such as tiny gelatin sponges or beads, to block a blood vessel. Embolization may be used to stop bleeding or to block the flow of blood to a tumor or abnormal area of tissue.

A procedure that uses particles, such as tiny gelatin sponges or beads, to block a blood vessel. Embolization may be used to stop bleeding or to block the flow of blood to a tumor or abnormal area of tissue. It may be used to treat some types of liver cancer, kidney cancer and neuroendocrine tumors. It may also be used to treat uterine fibroids, aneurysms and other conditions.

Second opinions

If you’ve been diagnosed with liver cancer, we recommend getting a second opinion before choosing where you’ll be treated. 

Though you can benefit from a second opinion at any time, it is most valuable when you are first diagnosed and have the widest array of treatment options. 

Fred Hutch has the region’s only liver tumor clinic, located at University of Washington Medical Center - Montlake, where our surgical, medical and radiation oncologists come together with hepatologists and transplant specialists each week to discuss and care for people with liver cancer. During a single visit you get the second opinion of not one doctor but an entire group of specialists.

Talk with liver cancer experts who understand your disease in greater depth than the general oncologists in your local community.

Call us at (855) 557-0555 to request an appointment for a second opinion.

How a second opinion can help

Getting a second opinion from doctors who specialize in liver cancer can help you:

Feel confident that your cancer has been accurately diagnosed and staged

There are several types of liver cancer, and evaluating the stage of these tumors can be complex. Pathologists, radiologists and gastroenterologists from Fred Hutch are experts in diagnosing liver cancers and have access to the latest technologies to help ensure we know as much about your cancer as possible.

Consider state-of-the-art treatment options

A second opinion may identify better, more advanced or more aggressive options, including a liver transplant, minimally invasive surgery, thermal ablation, transarterial chemoembolization, the latest radiation therapies (including proton therapy), and clinical studies of new chemotherapies or other techniques.

Understand the benefits of specialized, multidisciplinary care

The team of liver cancer specialists from Fred Hutch offers in-depth understanding of the full spectrum of treatments. We have first-hand knowledge of current research and a wealth of treatment experience.

Start with a course of therapy tailored to you

We focus on you, not just your cancer, when developing a treatment plan. We consider your goals, plans, beliefs, values and preferences to design your treatment holistically.

Learn whether genetics play a role

Your genetic make-up may have played a role in the development of your cancer, and it might impact your treatment. Depending on our findings, you and your family may benefit from Fred Hutch’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program.

Pathologist A physician who has special training in identifying diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope. Radiation oncologist A physician who has special training in using radiation to treat cancer. Radiologist A physician who has special training in creating and interpreting pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are made with X-rays, sound waves or other types of energy. Stage The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. Treatment plan A detailed plan with information about a patient’s disease, the goal of treatment, the treatment options for the disease and the possible side effects and expected length of treatment. A detailed plan with information about a patient’s disease, the goal of treatment, the treatment options for the disease and the possible side effects and expected length of treatment. A treatment plan may also include information about how much the treatment is likely to cost and about regular follow-up care after treatment ends. Ablation Treatment to remove or destroy all or part of a cancer; also used to remove or stop organ function. Besides surgery and drugs, other types of ablation include extreme heat, freezing and chemicals.

Treatment that removes or destroys all or part of a cancer; can also be used to remove or stop the function of an organ. For example, removing the ovaries or testicles or taking medicines that cause them to stop making their hormones would be called ablation. Besides surgery and drug treatment, other ways of ablating body tissues and tumors include extreme heat, freezing and chemicals.

Chemoembolization A procedure in which the blood supply to a tumor is blocked after anticancer drugs are given in blood vessels near the tumor.

A procedure in which the blood supply to a tumor is blocked after anticancer drugs are given in blood vessels near the tumor. Sometimes, the anticancer drugs are attached to small beads that are injected into an artery that feeds the tumor. The beads block blood flow to the tumor as they release the drug. This allows a higher amount of drug to reach the tumor for a longer period of time, which may kill more cancer cells. It also causes fewer side effects because very little of the drug reaches other parts of the body. Chemoembolization is used to treat liver cancer. Also called TACE and transarterial chemoembolization.

Request a second opinion

phone  (855) 557-0555
We recognize that liver cancer is serious. Getting a second opinion does not have to delay the start of your treatment. We aim to see you within one week. Call to request a second opinion with a Fred Hutch doctor.
Second opinions

If you’ve been diagnosed with liver cancer, we recommend getting a second opinion before choosing where you’ll be treated. Though you can benefit from a second opinion at any time, it is most valuable when you are first diagnosed and have the widest array of treatment options. 

Facts

Most cancers in the liver started somewhere else, like the colon, and then spread to the liver. But cancer can also start in the liver itself. We offer comprehensive treatment for liver cancer and related conditions, like gallbladder and bile duct cancers, from a team of gastrointestinal cancer experts.

Treatment

Our doctors are experts in the full spectrum of treatments liver cancer may require. Based on the unique characteristics of your disease, your team may recommend surgery, thermal ablation, irreversible electroporation, embolization, chemotherapy, proton therapy or other radiation therapy, all available here.

Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Radiation therapy The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body. Ablation Treatment to remove or destroy all or part of a cancer; also used to remove or stop organ function. Besides surgery and drugs, other types of ablation include extreme heat, freezing and chemicals.

Treatment that removes or destroys all or part of a cancer; can also be used to remove or stop the function of an organ. For example, removing the ovaries or testicles or taking medicines that cause them to stop making their hormones would be called ablation. Besides surgery and drug treatment, other ways of ablating body tissues and tumors include extreme heat, freezing and chemicals.

Embolization Uses particles, such as tiny gelatin sponges or beads, to block a blood vessel. Embolization may be used to stop bleeding or to block the flow of blood to a tumor or abnormal area of tissue.

A procedure that uses particles, such as tiny gelatin sponges or beads, to block a blood vessel. Embolization may be used to stop bleeding or to block the flow of blood to a tumor or abnormal area of tissue. It may be used to treat some types of liver cancer, kidney cancer and neuroendocrine tumors. It may also be used to treat uterine fibroids, aneurysms and other conditions.

Providers

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.

Clinical trials

Fred Hutch is a leader in liver cancer research. Our scientists and physicians are working all the time to improve current treatments for liver cancer and to develop new ones.

Resources

There are many resources online for learning about your disease, as well as organizations that provide community and support for your cancer diagnosis. Health educators at the Fred Hutch Patient and Family Resource Center have compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.