Liver Cancer

At Hoag, we know every person needs a team of dedicated experts to help them conquer liver cancer. Hoag Family Cancer Institute gives you access to the most advanced diagnostics, therapies and treatment options as well as groundbreaking clinical research – so you can trust that you will have the best care.

Why Hoag is Right for You.

Subspecialized Experts, Innovative Research & Advanced Technology

World-Class Liver Surgeons

Hoag’s team of board-certified, fellowship-trained hepatobiliary surgeons and surgical oncologists focus specifically on liver cancer. With advanced training in minimally invasive and robotic techniques, they spend every day operating on patients with conditions just like yours. 

Meet our Surgeons

Subspecialty Trained Medical Oncologists

Hoag physicians are subspecialty trained and board-certified medical oncologists focusing on gastrointestinal and liver cancer as well as early-phase clinical research. They are not only focused on your specific condition; they are set on ensuring you survive cancer, heal and move forward with your life.

Meet our Medical Oncologists

Groundbreaking Clinical Trials

Hoag physicians lead innovative clinical trials, continuing to push for more advanced, effective care for liver cancer patients. Our research explores the effectiveness of new drugs, therapies, medical devices and clinical and surgical methods – ensuring you have access to the most advanced treatments available.

Find clinical trials that may be right for you.

The Latest Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Our subspecialized team of medical oncologists and surgeons use advanced diagnostics and therapies including:

  • Interventional Radiology – Hoag’s advanced imaging techniques, precise endoscopic diagnosis and staging, as well as noninvasive endoscopic treatment methods mean you receive the very best care.
  • FibroScan – Non-invasive method of liver assessment technology without the side effects or complications of a needle biopsy.
  • ViewRay MRIdian linear accelerator – an adaptive radiotherapy treatment that enables your doctor to make adjustments on the spot, reducing side effects and maintaining the optimal dose of radiation.

Learn about Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Hoag Family Cancer Institute Locations:

All-Inclusive Cancer Care Nearby in Orange County

Patty & George Hoag Cancer Center
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian 1 Hoag Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Hoag Cancer Center Irvine
Hoag Health Center Irvine-Sand Canyon 16105 Sand Canyon Ave. Irvine, CA 92618

Marilyn Herbert Hausman Advanced Technology Pavilion
Lower campus of Hoag Hospital Newport Beach 1 Hoag Dr. Newport Beach, CA 92663

Hoag Medical Oncology – Huntington Beach
19582 Beach Boulevard, Suite 219, Huntington Beach, CA, USA






World-Class Cancer Treatment. Right here in OC.

Hoag is the top choice for cancer care in Orange County, with cancer survival rates that continually exceed national averages. Our dedicated, world-class teams are wholly focused on helping you survive cancer, heal and move forward with your life.

Liver cancer, sometimes known as hepatic cancer, begins in the liver, which is the large, two-lobed organ that lies just below your ribs. The liver has many important functions, including breaking down and helping excrete waste in the blood, producing clotting factors and breaking down the nutrients your body produces from food. 

When changes in the liver cause cells to mutate and replicate out of control, this can cause liver cancer. Any cancer that starts in the liver is called primary liver cancer

It’s common for other types of cancer to spread to the liver, including breast, lung, pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, skin and colon cancers. When cancer spreads to the liver from another part of the body, the condition is called secondary liver cancer or metastatic cancer and usually referred to according to where the cancer originated. For example, if cancer spreads to the liver from the breast, any resulting cancer found in the liver is called “metastatic breast cancer.”

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common type of primary liver cancer is Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).

Some cases of hepatocellular carcinoma begin as a single tumor that grows larger and spreads to other parts of the liver. Other cases, however, start as nodules scattered throughout the liver, which is mostly seen in patients with chronic liver damage, also known as cirrhosis of the liver.

There are additional subtypes of HCC. According to the American Cancer Society, these include:

  • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, AKA bile duct cancer, which makes up between 10 and 20 percent of all cancers that start in the liver according to the ACS. These cancers start in the tubes inside the liver that carry a digestive enzyme called bile to the gallbladder.
  • Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma, which are rare forms that begin in the lining of blood vessels inside the liver.
  • Hepatoblastoma, which is a very rare liver cancer that sometimes develops in children under 4 years old in which abnormal cells that are similar to fetal liver cells begin to replicate out of control.

Liver cancer is particularly dangerous in that it often presents few or no symptoms until after it has spread. According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms of liver cancer can include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Unexplained or abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Enlarged veins on the abdomen that can be seen through the skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained or recurring fever
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Swelling or a feeling of fullness under the ribs, which may be the result of an enlarged liver or spleen
  • Jaundice, which is a yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Swelling of the abdomen, which may be caused by fluid build-up

In addition, some liver tumors may affect the production of hormones, which can have impacts on other organs. According to the ACS, these hormonal changes may cause:

  • High levels of calcium in the blood (AKA hypercalcemia), which can cause unexplained nausea, mental confusion, constipation, fatigue or muscle issues.
  • Low blood sugar (AKA hypoglycemia) which can cause fatigue and unexplained fainting
  • Breast enlargement and testicle shrinkage in men
  • High levels of red blood cells, which can cause a person’s face to look flushed
  • Unexplained high cholesterol

According to the American Cancer Society, the annual rate of liver cancer diagnosis in the U.S. has more than tripled since 1980. Though the root cause of liver cancer is still unknown, there are a number of factors that are believed to raise your risk of developing liver cancer. These include:

  • Having cirrhosis, which is a disease that causes scar tissue to form inside the liver. Cirrhosis has several potential causes, but is most often due to people having a long-term hepatitis infection or abusing alcohol. According to the American Cancer Society, most people who develop liver cancer show signs of cirrhosis
  • Abusing alcohol, which is the leading cause of cirrhosis in the U.S.
  • Smoking
  • Being obese
  • Long-term abuse of anabolic steroids
  • Exposure to vinyl chloride, which is a chemical used in the plastics industry.
  • Exposure to thorium dioxide, aka Thorotrast, which is a chemical that was once injected into patients in preparation for some x-ray imaging tests.
  • Having Type 2 diabetes
  • Your gender, as HCC is much more common in men than women.
    Your race and ethnicity, as Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Native Americans and African Americans all have a higher liver cancer diagnosis rate than caucasians.
  • Being diagnosed with chronic viral hepatitis, as chronic, long-term infection with the hepatitis B or C virus is the most common risk factor for liver cancer worldwide according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Having non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is a condition commonly seen in people who are obese. Those with a subtype of the disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) may develop cirrhosis, which may increase their risk of developing primary liver cancer.
  • Having primary biliary cirrhosis, an autoimmune disorder that damages the bile ducts in the liver and which can lead to cirrhosis.
  • Having certain metabolic diseases, including hereditary hemochromatosis.

Ways to reduce your risk of developing liver cancer may include:

  • Use alcohol in moderation
  • Avoid Type 2 diabetes by cutting sugar and eating a healthy diet.
  • Avoid being overweight by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise to avoid being overweight. Here at Hoag, we offer help with weight management to help reduce this risk and others that come with being overweight.
  • Don’t smoke