Surgical Options for  Liver Cancer

Liver resection

Liver resection means the total or partial removal of the liver. For people diagnosed with liver cancer, liver resection may offer the best chance for cure or long-term survival because removal of a tumor is the most complete method of eliminating the cancer and preventing its spread to other parts of the body. The liver's remarkable ability to re-grow allows it to continue functioning even when parts of it are removed.

Only your surgeon can determine if you qualify for liver surgery. Some things we consider are:

  • Whether the tumor is only in the liver
  • The number, size and location of the liver tumors
  • If you have enough healthy tissue for normal liver function after the diseased parts are removed. As much as 75 percent of the liver can taken out as the remaining tissue is healthy.
  • Whether the tumor is near important blood vessels
  • Whether you have cirrhosis of the liver.

Liver transplant

Liver transplant is the only treatment for both liver cancer and any liver disease you already have. Our liver transplant team will evaluate you to determine if you qualify for a liver transplant.

OHSU is the only liver transplant center in the state of Oregon. Because we also conduct research on liver cancer, we offer the most up-to-date treatments to patients with primary liver tumors.

What is a liver transplant?

A liver transplant is surgery to replace a diseased liver with a healthy liver from another person. The new liver may come from a deceased organ donor or from a living donor. Family members or people who are not related to you but make a good match might be able to donate part of their liver. People who donate part of their livers can live healthy lives with the remaining liver.

An entire liver might be transplanted, or just a section. Because the liver is the only organ in the body able to grow back, a transplanted part of a liver can do the job of a whole liver in just a few weeks. For more information on liver transplants.