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Dr. Praveen Kammar


Surgical Oncologist

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Stomach Tumor | 30 May 2022, Monday

What is Second Stage Liver Cancer?

What is Second Stage Liver Cancer

Cancer that occurs inside the liver is termed “liver cancer”. The liver is a large organ that performs critical functions of the body, such as eliminating waste, absorbing nutrients, and healing wounds. When cancer forms in the liver, it starts destroying liver cells and interferes with the normal functioning of the liver.

There are different staging systems for liver cancer. They stage the liver cancer based  on the tumour size, location, extent of spread and several other parameters. TNM staging system is one of the most commonly used staging system. Based on the TNM staging system, liver cancer is divided into four stages, from 1 to 4. In this blog, we shall talk about stage 2 liver cancer.

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What is stage 2 liver cancer?

The second stage, or stage 2 liver cancer, shows a single tumour over 2 cm, and it has grown into blood vessels of the liver. It can also mean several liver tumours, and they are all less than 5cm.

Symptoms of stage 2 liver cancer

How to detect Stomach Cancer Early

The liver is a robust organ with a large functional reserve. Hence, early-stage liver cancers do not produce any symptoms. Many times, patients suffering from liver cancer may have a damaged liver (cirrhosis). It is worth remembering that the reasons for overall liver damage (hepatitis and cirrhosis)  and liver cancer are mostly the same. So there may be symptoms arising due to liver damage or liver failure in the presence of liver cancer.

Your symptoms could include:

  • Persistent pain in the lower right side of the belly
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Swelling in the belly
  • Fever
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising 
  • Yellowish discolouration of skin and eyes

If you have never had liver cancer before, report all-new or unexplained symptoms to your doctor.

Read Also: What Are the Stages of Liver Cancer?

Second stage liver cancer

Diagnosis of Liver Cancer

Screening for early detection of liver cancer at any stage is not performed routinely. Still, it may be considered for people at high risk for the disease, especially those with family or previous medical history of liver cancer and conditions like hemochromatosis, chronic hepatitis, and alcohol addiction.

Tests for detection of liver cancer include:

Imaging with ultrasound is the initial diagnostic test used to detect tumours. However, ultrasound cannot give all the information required to start treatment. High-resolution CT scans and contrasts MRI scans can are necessary to evaluate liver cancers.

A PET scan or a bone scan is usually done to look for the spread of liver cancers to other parts of the body.

Blood tests that measure tumour markers-  Tumour markers are the substances that rise in the blood if someone has particular cancer. Liver cancers secrete alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), which is present in fetuses but goes away after birth. Elevated AFP levels are seen in  70% of liver cancers. 

Read Also: What Is the Last Stage of Liver Cancer?

Liver Cancer Treatment

Treatment for second-stage liver cancer is based on how well your liver is working and other health conditions.


Surgery is the treatment of choice for stage 2 of liver cancer. 

Depending on the size of the cancer and its location in the liver, one or more segments of the liver need to be removed to achieve a successful surgery. 

How healthy the remaining liver is, influences the choice and extent of surgery and postoperative recovery

Liver transplant:

Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a liver transplant for stage 2 liver cancer. This is generally done when the rest of the liver is also damaged (by cirrhosis and hepatitis) and likely to worsen. You may have to wait longer to receive a transplant. So, for the time being, you might receive other treatments to help control cancer while you are on the transplant list.


Chemoembolization is also termed trans arterial Chemoembolization (TACE), which means giving chemotherapy directly into the arteries feeding the tumour-affected area of your liver and then blocking off the blood supply to the tumour.

TACE is generally recommended as the treatment of choice if there are more than 3 tumour nodules in the liver.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) and Microwave Ablation (MWA):

These treatments make use of heat to destroy tumour cells. 

These options are considered when the patient is not fit for liver surgery.

For tumours smaller than 2cms RFA can be considered an alternative to surgery.

These ablative modalities can also be used as a bridge while waiting for a liver transplant.


A second-stage liver cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. If you experience any symptoms and are concerned about your risk of liver cancer, talk with your doctor about a liver cancer screening. And it’s essential to connect with people in your life who can help you deal with stress, anxiety, or other feelings that you may develop after being diagnosed.

Book an appointment with us now to know more about second-stage liver cancer! 




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