Liver Cancer Treatment – What Kind of Doctors Specialize?

Samson T. Jacob

March 9, 2023

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a serious health condition that can cause significant harm to the liver and can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated promptly. The treatment of liver cancer often involves a team of healthcare professionals, including specialized doctors who have expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer. Hepatologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgical oncologists are the types of doctors who typically specialize in the treatment of liver cancer. Each of these specialists brings unique skills and knowledge to the table and works together to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for each patient. The success of treatment often depends on the expertise and collaboration of these specialists.

Medical Oncologist

A Medical Oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer. These doctors work with patients and their healthcare teams to provide the best care.

They may treat people with hematology (study and treatment of blood diseases) or oncology (study and treatment of tumors). They can diagnose the type of liver cancer a patient has, determine the extent of the disease, and offer treatments such as chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.

They also work closely with other specialists, such as hepatologists and radiation oncologists, to provide comprehensive care for liver cancer. Their primary focus is to improve survival and reduce the risk of recurrence, which occurs when a tumor grows back in another part of the body. They research new ways to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Hepatobiliary Surgeon

Hepatobiliary surgeons are experts in treating liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and bile duct diseases. They are also experienced in minimally invasive techniques, including laparoscopic surgery.

They can remove tumors from the liver and reroute bile ducts (the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the intestines). Hepatobiliary surgery can include liver resections, pancreatic resections, and cholecystectomy.

They can also use chemoembolization and radiofrequency ablation to destroy the cancerous portion of the liver. These methods are a newer form of liver tumor treatment.

Radiation Oncologist

Radiation oncologists use radiation therapy to shrink tumors that are too large for surgery or have spread. They also use it to kill cancer cells that have not spread to other parts of the body and to reduce pain caused by a tumor.

Your treatment plan will depend on your liver cancer type and medical condition. It may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Your radiation oncologist will review your health history, previous medical tests, and other information to develop a treatment plan. A simulation session helps your doctor plan your radiation treatments based on the exact location of the tumor and surrounding organs.


Gastroenterologists treat all problems that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, colon and rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

The GI tract is the body’s system for digestion, absorption of nutrients, and waste removal. It also helps control the functioning of other organs and regulates metabolic processes.

Unlike general physicians, gastroenterologists have dedicated GI tract and liver training. They receive over a decade of education and training before becoming a gastroenterologist.

A gastroenterologist can diagnose and manage gastrointestinal tract diseases, including liver cancer. They may recommend tests or procedures to help determine the best treatment options for you. They can carry out a variety of techniques, including endoscopy. These tests use a long instrument with a tiny camera called an endoscope to look inside the digestive tract.


Hepatologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating liver-related conditions. Traditionally, this specialty was a subspecialty of gastroenterology, but it is now a medical field in its own right with its subspecialties.

Hepatitis, fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer are all common liver diseases that require a specialist to treat. Hepatologists also provide care for patients who undergo liver transplantation.

Hepatologists typically use imaging tests such as ultrasounds and hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scans (cholescintigraphy) to detect gallstones, suspicious growths, and other problems in the liver or bile ducts. They also perform liver biopsies to take tissue samples from the organ to diagnose a disease or infection. They may also do fibro scans to measure the stiffness of the liver. They work with surgeons, interventionalists, and medical oncologists to ensure patients remain stable during liver cancer treatments and monitor them for recurrence.