Primary Liver Cancer: Treatments that work on a weakened Liver?

This isn't the first time I'm made a post here. Maybe it's my desire to protect my parents that keeps me pushing to try and try again. They are so important to me and I want to make sure no stone is left unturned.
So my Dad has been diagnosed with Liver Cancer and due to it's location being too close to a Lymph Node, surgery wasn't an option. Due to his weakened Liver and Physical Health, no other treatments would work either, according to the oncologist. So they moved on to planning Palliative Care as if they could get away with giving us so little information.

We did request a second opinion as I was considering in my original post I made. I thought his Oncologist would talk to doctors from an entirely different hospital to get some second opinions, but no, he went straight to a college from the same damn hospital. Maybe that's normal, I just thought a second opinion would have more value if it came from an entirely new outside source. But it came from the same hospital and you'd naturally assume the opinion would be the same, which it was. But because of how my cynical mind works, I don't know if the opinions match because it's the same hospital and the same people with the same techniques or it's just that I can't accept the truth. It doesn't help that it has felt like my Dad's oncologist and his GP have both been the most unhelpful while MacMillan and the other people we seek advice from online, can only do so much. (I really appreciate that, by the way.)

I'm sorry about the long back story. I don't know if it's necessary for my question. It just highlights the mentality behind it.

The question is regarding, Thermal Ablation. My brother had heard from an expert over at Cancer Research UK that Thermal Ablation is a viable option for a weakened Liver. Something that was NEVER mentioned by my Dad's Cancer Team. I wanted to get a second opinion from a nurse here, if that is okay?

Does Thermal Ablation carry any risks towards a liver that is not performing as well as it should, compared to the other Cancer Treatments?

  • Hi Anxioussun,

    Thank you for contacting us. My name is Isobel and I am one of the Cancer Information nurse specialists on the Macmillan support line.

    Thank you for the added information that is helpful so no need to apologise.

    I am glad to see that you have been reaching out for support on our online community. I hope this has been helpful.

    It is understandable that you would not want to leave any stone unturned, the desire to protect our loved ones can be very strong.

    When someone close is diagnosed with cancer it is only natural that you would want to do all that you can, however that can be difficult. This information may be help you understand some of the difficult emotions and feelings that people in your situation can experience, and hopefully explain that this is a common reaction.

    You asked about a second opinion from our nurses.

    We are not able to give a second opinion about an individual’s treatment. However, I have found some information that may be helpful and help answer your question about Thermal Ablation.

    It is possible that this is something that is not available at the hospital your father is attending. Liver Cancer Ablation is only available in some specialist hospitals. So, he may have to travel for treatment if it was appropriate and of benefit to him. You can ask to speak to his specialist about this. A conversation in more detail about the reasons this was not mentioned may help you understand the treatment decisions that have been made.

    You also asked about the risks when a liver is not performing well. Any procedure, treatment can have risks as well as benefits. In this information the risks and benefits are detailed and there is information about the limitations of this type of treatment.

    I hope this information is useful.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us again. You may also find it helpful to speak to one of our Cancer Information Nurse Specialist on the support line who would be able to discuss this with you in more detail.

    Best wishes,

    Isobel Y Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email

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