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Staging Groups for Surgery

When considering treatment options, doctors need to know whether the liver cancer can be removed by surgery. There are three staging treatment groups:

Resectable Liver Cancer

Surgically removing the entire cancer is only possible if the cancer is detected early enough and is limited to just one part of the liver. This type of cancer is called resectable and includes most stage I and some stage II cancers.

Nonresectable Liver Cancer

If the cancer is detected early enough but cannot be removed by surgery because the tumor is too big or there are too many tumors, the cancer is called nonresectable. This would include some early-stage cancers, as well as stage IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC cancers.

Advanced Liver Cancer

If the cancer has spread throughout most of the liver or to other organs, it is called advanced. This would include stage IV cancers. Because the symptoms of liver cancer often do not appear until the disease is advanced, most stage IV cancers cannot be treated with surgery.