Around 20 percent of adults with primary liver cancer live for at least one year after diagnosis, and one in 20 people live for five years or more, according to statistics from Cancer Research UK. Half of patients with cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, do not live for more than three months, as surgery is typically not possible in these cases.
Doctors often use the terms one-year survival and five-year survival when talking about the survival rates of people with liver cancer, as explained by Cancer Research UK. However, this does not mean that a person is going to live for one or five years only after diagnosis, as survival rates differ based on the stage of the cancer and other factors, such as the health of the liver tissue not affected by the cancer. The survival rates relate to the number of patients in research studies who have lived for one or five years after diagnosis.
Cancer Research UK notes that adults with liver cancer usually have poor treatment outcomes, because the cancer tends to be diagnosed late. Many people already have advanced stages of liver cancer by the time they experience certain symptoms and go to a doctor. Only around one out of 10 people are diagnosed in the early stages when surgery is a more viable option.