Monitoring Liver Metastases
Once you are diagnosed with liver metastases, you and your doctors will decide on a treatment plan. That plan will also include regular tests. These tests are important because they show your doctors how treatments are working and if the tumors are shrinking, growing or staying the same. Knowing this allows you and your doctor to continue making treatment decisions and managing side effects.
Your doctor may use some of the same tests to monitor liver metastases that were used to diagnose them. This can include
- blood tests, which show changes in the number of liver enzymes in your blood or find proteins that have broken away from tumors and entered your blood. Either of these situations may suggest the cancer is growing or spreading.
- imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, PET scans or ultrasounds that create pictures of your liver and show where cancer is located in it. By comparing the pictures over time, doctors can see whether liver metastases are growing or shrinking, or changing in other ways.
How often you get which tests depends on your diagnosis and your doctor’s preferences. But it’s common for doctors to recommend imaging tests every 2-6 months. Your doctor may also recommend additional tests if you experience new or more serious symptoms or side effects. Ask your doctor how often he or she recommends you have certain tests, and why.