Liver cancer at NYU Langone, primary care physicians typically perform blood tests at least once a year during routine testing. They test the blood for high levels of liver enzymes, which can signal liver disease. Liver enzymes are substances that help the liver function, including processing. And storing the nutrients your body needs and filtering harmful substances from the blood.
High levels of certain enzymes in the blood, such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), may indicate that a person has a liver condition such as cirrhosis, fatty liver, or hepatitis b or C. Take a blood sample for testing for hepatitis B or C.
Screening for Liver Cancer in High-risk Individuals:
If you are diagnosed with cirrhosis, fatty liver, or hepatitis B or C. You are at increased risk of developing liver cancer. Frequent screening for liver cancer may need to be considered. Many other factors, such as a family history of liver cancer, can also increase the risk. Asian Americans, African Americans, and men are more likely to develop liver cancer, as are people over the age of 40, especially if they already have a condition that causes liver damage.
If your primary care provider or other doctor determines that you are at high risk for liver cancer, you may want to discuss the tests you need with a specialist at the Perlmutter cancer center. These specialists may include a Hepatologist, a doctor specializing in liver disease, or a gastroenterologist. Your specialist may recommend that you have the following blood and imaging tests every 6-12 months.
Our doctors can do a blood test to determine if you have high levels of a protein called alpha-fetoprotein or AFP. A high level of AFP can be a sign of liver cancer, but not always. If there is liver cancer, elevated AFP levels can mean the condition has spread.
If you have had gastrointestinal cancer in the past, such as colon cancer, your doctor might test your blood for CEA, a substance that is produced by cancer and is, therefore, a tumor marker. Your doctor may also order a CT scan or MRI to check for liver cancer.
An ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of structures in the body on a computer screen. Thus, if liver cancer is diagnosed, doctors may use an ultrasound to detect any changes in the size of the tumor.
If an ultrasound reveals suspicious growth, the doctor may order a computed tomography scan. In which a series of X-ray images are sent to a computer to create cross-sectional images of the liver from different angles. The factor makes it easier to detect abnormal areas of the liver during the scan and helps identify possible tumors.
An MRI scan, which uses a magnetic field and then the radio waves to create multiple electronic images of body structures from different angles, detects this cancer in people with cirrhosis. Compared to CT scans, MRI scans are better at locating the number. And characteristics of liver tumors. While CT scans use a low dose of radiation to produce images. MRI scans do not require radiation.