What type of liver cancer do I have?
Primary liver cancer, or cancer that starts in the liver, is the third-leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The incidence of this cancer is rising, making primary liver (and bile duct) cancer the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Types of primary liver cancer include:
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer. It begins in hepatocytes, which are the workhorse cells of the liver that specialize in detoxifying the body and processing nutrients. HCC often starts as a single tumor that grows and spreads over time.
- Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is cancer that begins the parts of the bile ducts that are within the liver. The bile ducts are the thin tubes that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine.
- Hepatoblastoma is a very rare liver cancer type that develops in very young children.
Roswell Park treats all forms and types of liver cancer including other rare primary liver cancers, and mixed tumor types, such as mixed hepatocellular and cholangiocarcinoma.
Liver metastases are cancerous lesions or tumors from a primary cancer elsewhere in the body that has spread to the liver. These tumors — sometimes called secondary liver cancer — are not really liver cancer at all, but are cancer cells like the primary tumor, such as neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), melanoma or cancers that began in the lung or breast.
Because the liver receives all the blood return from the organs within the abdomen, it is a common site for metastatic disease from gastrointestinal cancers, such as the stomach, pancreas, bile duct and colon.