Ongoing testing for early detection

Early detection means a chance for early action to fight liver cancer 

An early warning system is in place to help

When liver cancer does occur, there is a close connection between how advanced it is and the expected outcome.1 The odds of successful treatment are most favorable when the cancer is found in early stages, before it spreads. This is why early detection is so important.2 


If you have risk factors for liver cancer such as cirrhosis, your doctor may recommend ongoing testing.3 Tests are ordered to identify those who need more involved (confirmatory) testing, such as imaging tests or biopsies. 

Among at-risk people who ultimately developed liver cancer, research has linked ongoing testing with a more than doubled chance for early detection vs those who did not participate in routine testing.4,5 Research also found that more frequent testing led to comparably earlier detection. Ongoing testing also improved survival measurements. 


The benefit of ongoing testing is early detection

If your doctor has recommended careful watching for liver cancer and ordered tests, it is important to understand why the testing is important.6 Fundamentally, the purpose of ongoing testing is to find the cancer early, when the chance of successful treatment is greatest. When cancer is detected in later stages it is harder to get under control and has worse outcomes.3 


The term liver cancer is used to represent the most common form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

References: 1. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2020. CA Cancer J Clin. 2020;70(1):7-30. doi:10.3322/caac.21590 2. National Cancer Institute. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Cancer stat facts: liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer. Accessed September 3, 2020. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/. 3. Marrero JA, Kulik LM, Sirlin CB, et al. Diagnosis, staging, and management of hepatocellular carcinoma: 2018 practice guidance by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Hepatology. 2018;68(2):723-750. doi:10.1002/hep.29913 4. Singal AG, Pillai A, Tiro J. Early detection, curative treatment, and survival rates for hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance in patients with cirrhosis: a meta-analysis. PLoS Med. 2014;11(4):e1001624.1-20. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001624 5. Choi DT, Kum HC, Park S, et al. Hepatocellular carcinoma screening is associated with increased survival of patients with cirrhosis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019;17(5):976-987.e4. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2018.10.031 6. National Cancer Institute website. Liver (hepatocellular) cancer screening (PDQ®)—patient version. Updated March 22, 2019. Accessed July 26, 2020. https://www.cancer.gov/types/liver/patient/liver-screening-pdq