Stages III and IV are the final stages of liver cancer. During these stages, there may be multiple cancerous tumors and a spread of cancer to blood vessels beyond the liver to lymph nodes or to other body parts, such as the bones or the lungs, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Several systems of staging liver cancer exist, explains the American Cancer Society. One such system is the American Joint Committee of Cancer TNM system. TNM stands for tumor, nodes and metastasized. According to this system, the stages of liver cancer correspond to periods of the cancer's development, including number of tumors, tumor size and where the cancer has spread regionally and distally.
A doctor using this system determines the TNM groups first. Then, he assigns a roman numeral that indicates the degree of increasing severity, states the American Cancer Society. Stages III and IV each contain mini stages denoted by the letters A, B and C. The five-year survival rates for liver cancer depend on whether the cancer is confined to the liver and has spread into nearby regions or to distant locations. The percentages refer to people who live five or more years after diagnosis. As of 2015, the five-year survival rate is approximately 30 percent for individuals whose cancer is confined to the liver in stages II, III and IV.