Symptoms, Treatment & Life Expectancy of Metastatic Liver Cancer

Submitted by Nic on October 16, 2012

Metastatic liver cancer is a type of cancer that has its origins in some other part of the individual’s body and has eventually spread to the liver. Metastatic liver cancer typically originates from cancer in the pancreas, colon, stomach, lungs or even the breasts. This is because, the liver performs the function of filtering the blood in the body and therefore if a tumor breaks free from its original location in the body of the individual, it will go through the liver thereby resulting in metastatic liver cancer.

Symptoms of Metastatic Liver Cancer

Initially, a person suffering from metastatic liver cancer will not show any external symptoms, however in the later stages of this form of cancer various symptoms will gradually begin to surface such as:

  • Diminishing appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling of the abdominal area
  • Constant feeling of weakness or tiredness
  • Pain in the abdominal region.


Metastatic liver cancer treatment would commence once this form of cancer is accurately diagnosed via various methods such as tests conducted to ascertain if the liver is functioning as required, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), blood tests, computed tomography (CT) etc. The typical forms of treatment available for metastatic liver cancer include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Surgery for metastatic liver cancer is considered as a treatment option only if a few tumors are found in the liver as this is an invasive treatment. In some extreme cases, as part of the treatment for metastatic liver cancer, the person may also be required to undergo a liver transplant or a laparoscopic surgery.


The prognosis for metastatic liver cancer depends on the stage at which the cancer was diagnosed. In the early stages of the cancer , the cancer would be present only in the liver and as the cancer progresses it would have invaded nearby blood vessels as well as organs. Other factors also influence the prognosis of metastatic liver cancer such as the overall health of the individual. Prognosis for metastatic liver cancer, if diagnosed and treated in the later stages is not very positive. Alternatively the best results of the treatment for liver cancer are seen if the treatment is done in the early stages of the cancer. The life expectancy in this form of cancer is very low and could range from 1 to 5 years.

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