Multiple factors, including the size of the cancer, how far the disease has spread, the number of lesions, the quality of surrounding tissue, and the overall health of the patient, impact the duration of time between diagnosis to the final stage of liver cancer, explains MedicineNet.com. The five-year survival rate is 15 percent, especially low because it often coincides with other underlying health conditions. If the cancer is only located in the liver, the five-year survival rate is 28 percent.
Damage to a person's liver usually progresses in a similar way regardless of the type of liver cancer involved, states the American Liver Foundation. Liver failure, the final stage of liver cancer, can occur in as little as 48 hours and requires immediate medical attention. The latter symptoms of this stage include disorientation, confusion and extreme fatigue. The initial symptoms of this last stage are nausea, diarrhea, fatigue and a loss of appetite.
Liver disease begins with inflammation, tenderness and enlargement of the liver, explains the American Liver Foundation. Unlike other parts of a person's body where inflammation leads to pain, swelling of the liver causes little to no discomfort. A diagnosis of liver cancer at this stage leads to the greatest prognosis.
Scarring from fibrosis occurs if the individual does not receive treatment for the inflammation, the American Liver Foundation notes. Extra scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. Cirrhosis, a stage when the liver can no longer heal itself, is the next phase. Typically, it is at this point that the patient receives a liver cancer diagnosis.