Liver Cancer Life Expectancy

By  , Expert Content
Jan 19, 2013

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A person diagnosed with liver cancer is naturally concerned about how long will he live and what the future holds. Understanding the prognosis and life expectancy of liver cancer and what to expect can help the patient and their family to handle the disease and living with it better.


[Read: The Prognosis of Liver Cancer]


Life expectancy or survival of patients with liver cancer depends on:

  • type of  cancer
  • stage of the cancer
  • extent of damage of liver function (or how well the liver is functioning).
  • patient's factors such as general health, and if there is cirrhosis of the liver
  • alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels.

Survival rates of a cancer indicate the proportion of people with a certain type and stage of cancer who live for a specific period of time after their diagnosis. In most cancers the five-year survival rate is determined. This rate indicates the percentage of people with the disease who are still alive five years after diagnosis (factors such as signs or symptoms of cancer, presence or absence of disease, or treatment are not considered).

The survival rates orlife expectancy of any cancer is determined by research done on the particular cancer. According to research the five-year relative survival rates for liver cancer are:


  • White men( 7.4 per cent)
  • White women (10.6 per cent)
  • Black men (5.5 per cent )
  • Black women (4.6 per cent)

The life expectancy or survival rate of liver cancer, based on stage according to some studies is;


  • Localised cancer 919.0 per cent)
  • Distant or cancer that has spread extensively (3.4 per cent)


The life expectancy for most patients with liver cancer is low because they remain undetected for a longtime and most liver cancers do not respond well to treatment.

If the liver cancer is removed surgically, survival rate or life expectancy is improved----survival rate is about 75% after 1 year of surgery, 50% after 3 years of surgery and about 30% after 5 years of surgery. Hence if the cancer can be removed complete surgical removal is done.

After liver transplant in a person with primary liver cancer, the rate of survival is 75% for 5 years. Liver transplantation in patients with metastasis of cancer or secondary liver cancer is not done as the life expectancy remains extremely low.

Early detection and lowering the risk factors for liver cancer are essential to improve the liver cancer life expectancy. If you have factors which increase your risk of liver cancer consult your doctor regularly to detect the cancer at an early stage as it can improve prognosis and life expectancy.


Read more articles on Liver Cancer



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