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About Liver Cancer

Diagnosing Liver Tumors

The doctor will feel the abdomen to check for lumps, swelling, or other changes in the liver, spleen, and other nearby organs.

This will show any abnormal growths in the liver.

This can give a very accurate picture of the location and size of a tumor. It can also show how close major body organs are to the area that needs to be treated or operated on.

This is similar to CT scan but will be clearer than a CT scan for some types of tissues.

Radioactivity accumulates in the tumor(s) and shows up as a "hot spot" on the scan. The PET scan can be used to detect tumors as small as 1cm.

The only way to clearly diagnose cancer. It can also show the origin and type of tumor that may be present in the liver.

This will look at 

  • liver function - shows if the liver is working properly.
  • levels of tumor markers - certain substances that are linked to a specific types of cancer.


Liver tumors will often show on an ultrasound scan, but full assessment requires a CT scan or MRI scan. If the results from blood tests and CT or MRI scans are not clear, a needle biopsy using, e.g, ultrasound guidance will usually confirm the diagnosis.

Liver Cancer - Diagnosis. Cancer.Net. September 15, 2019. Accessed April 20, 2021