Prognosis and survival with primary liver cancer are dependent on a number of factors, which include the type of tumour, stage, number of lesions, performance status (PS) or the measure of how well a person can carry out daily activities, liver function tests, and the Child Pugh Score which is used to determine if surgery is appropriate. The Child Pugh score takes into account whether there is fluid build-up in the abdomen (ascites), symptoms of encephalopathy (neurological and psychiatric abnormalities), bilirubin levels, albumin levels that may cause jaundice (yellowing of the skin) when high, and PT (prothrombin time) or the time that takes for the blood to clot. (Canadian Cancer Society)
After treatment is completed, whether surgery or a transplant has taken place, a survivorship care plan should be put in place. This will include:
- Follow-up exams and tests.
- Screening for other types of cancer or the side effects that treatment might have caused.
- A list of long term side effects and what to watch for before contacting healthcare professionals.
- Diet and physical activity.
“Adopting healthy behaviors such as not smoking, eating well, being active, and staying at a healthy weight might help as well, but no one knows for sure. However, we do know that these types of changes can have positive effects on your health that can extend beyond your risk of liver or other cancers.”