Hepatocellular Carcinoma at 10x Magnification
The prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma is overall relatively poor, though some tumors may be much more successfully treated than others. If the tumor is small or slow growing, surgical removal is often the preferred treatment, but the risk of surgery is too high for some individuals, especially those that have cirrhosis. Surgery can also be problematic because hepatocellular carcinoma is frequently a multifocal tumor and daughter nodules may be overlooked by the surgeon, resulting in rapid recurrence of the disease. Only in about 10 to 20 percent of patients can hepatocellular carcinomas be completely removed utilizing surgical techniques. Individuals that are considered poorly suited for surgery, however, may elect to undergo any of several other treatments that may extend their survival times, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, percutaneous ethanol injection, transplantation, and transcatheter arterial chemoembolization of the liver.