Tests and next steps for liver cancer
Main tests for liver cancer
You will need tests and scans to check for liver cancer if the GP refers you to a specialist.
These tests can include:
- blood tests
- scans, like an ultrasound scan, CT scan or MRI scan
- collecting a small sample of cells from the liver (called a biopsy), to be checked for cancer
You may not have all these tests.
If you've already had another kind of cancer and the specialist thinks it might have spread to your liver (secondary liver cancer) you may also have a PET scan.
These tests can also help find problems in your bile ducts, pancreas or gallbladder.
Find out more
Getting your results
It can take several weeks to get the results of your tests.
Try not to worry if your results are taking a long time to get to you. It does not mean anything is definitely wrong.
You can call the hospital or GP if you are worried. They should be able to update you.
A specialist will explain what the results mean and what will happen next. You may want to bring someone with you for support.
If you're told you have liver cancer
Being told you have liver cancer can feel overwhelming. You may be feeling anxious about what will happen next.
It can help to bring someone with you to any appointments you have.
A group of specialists will look after you throughout your diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
Your team will include a clinical nurse specialist who will be your main point of contact during and after treatment.
You can ask them any questions you have.
Macmillan Cancer Support has a free helpline that's open every day from 8am to 8pm.
They're there to listen if you have anything you want to talk about.
Call 0808 808 00 00
If you've been told you have liver cancer, you may need more tests.
These, along with the tests you've already had, will help the specialists find out the size of the cancer and how far it's spread (called the stage).
You may need a small operation to look inside your tummy, called a laparoscopy.
The specialists will use the results of these tests and work with you to decide on the best treatment plan for you.
Find out more
Page last reviewed: 13 June 2023
Next review due: 13 June 2026