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.
- Advanced: Cancer has spread throughout the liver or to other parts of the body.
- Recurrent: Cancer has come back after it was treated.