Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for liver cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists (oncologists), liver specialists (hepatologists) and your family doctor. If you have a liver transplant, your transplant team will also be involved in your follow-up care. Your healthcare team will work with you to decide on follow-up care to meet your needs.
Don’t wait until your next scheduled appointment to report any new symptoms and symptoms that don’t go away. Tell your healthcare team if you have:
The chance of liver cancer coming back, or recurring, is greatest within 2 years, so close follow-up is needed during this time.
The first follow-up visit after any type of treatment for liver cancer is based on the type of treatment you had.
If you had a liver resection or radiofrequency ablation (RFA), the first follow-up visit is 4 weeks after treatment. Then follow-up visits are scheduled every 3 months for 2 years. If there is no recurrence after 2 years, visits are then scheduled every 6 months.
If you had transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), the first follow-up visit is 4 to 6 weeks after treatment. Then follow-up visits are scheduled every 3 months.
If you are being treated with targeted therapy, you will have follow-up visits every 2 or 3 months.
If you had a liver transplant, you will be followed by your transplant team. They will schedule tests and visits for follow-up care at the transplant centre or with your family doctor.
During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how you’re coping. Your doctor may do a physical exam, including:
Tests are often part of follow-up care. You may have:
Doctors only test for AFP during follow-up if it was high at the time of diagnosis and it was lower after treatment.
If a recurrence is found, your healthcare team will assess you to determine the best treatment options.
To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.