When we diagnose liver cancer, the next step is to determine how far the cancer cells have spread through a process called staging. The National Cancer Institute defines the following stages for primary liver cancer:
- Localized resectable
Cancer is in the liver only, has not spread, and can be removed completely with surgery.
- Localized unresectable
Cancer is in the liver only, has not spread, but cannot be totally removed, usually due to its location near major blood vessels.
Cancer has spread throughout the liver or to other parts of the body.
Cancer has come back after it was treated.