Liver metastases are cancerous tumors that have spread to the liver from somewhere else in the body. Cancers that may spread to the liver include:
The risk of cancer spreading to the liver depends on the site of the original cancer. A liver metastasis may be present when the original (primary) cancer is diagnosed, or it may occur months or years after the primary tumor is removed. Symptoms
In some cases, there are no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they may include: •Anorexia
•Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) •Nausea
•Pain, usually in the upper right part of the abdomen
When the cancer has spread to the liver and other organs, whole-body (systemic) chemotherapy is usually used. When the spread is limited to the liver, systemic chemotherapy may still be used. However, other treatment methods may be effective. When the tumor is only in one or a few areas of the liver, the cancer may be removed with surgery. The use of radiofrequency waves or injection of toxic substances may also be used to kill tumors. When larger areas of the liver are involved, treatment may involve giving chemotherapy directly into the liver, or a procedure called embolization, which blocks blood flow to parts of the liver to "starve" the tumor cells. Outlook (Prognosis)
In most cases, cancer that has spread to the liver is not curable. Patients with liver metastases usually die of their disease. However, treatments may help shrink tumors, improve life expectancy, and relieve symptoms. Nursing Interventions: Patient 322B should receive the best possible “pain management” given the multiple diagnoses of metastatic cancers involved. Anticipate need for pain relief. One can most effectively deal with pain by preventing it. Early intervention may decrease the total amount of analgesic required. Respond immediately to complaint of pain. Provide rest periods to facilitate comfort, sleep, and relaxation. Notify physician if interventions are unsuccessful or if current complaint is a significant change from patient’s past experience of pain. Patients who request pain medications at more frequent intervals than prescribed may actually require higher doses or more potent analgesics.