Life expectancy for liver cancer patients is measured as a five-year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society. The five-year survival rate for a person with localized liver cancer is 28 percent, while regional liver cancer is 7 percent and distant liver cancer is 2 percent.
It is important to note that many patients with liver cancer have other health problems such as cirrhosis, states the American Cancer Society. Therefore, life expectancy for patients who do not have other health issues is approximately 50 percent. Patients who have early stage cancer and receive a liver transplant have five-year survival rates of 60 to 70 percent. Equally important is the fact that survival rates are based on the past five years. During that time, new treatments that prolong life may be developed.
Many cancers are grouped into TNM stages for survival rates, but liver cancer is grouped into summary stages. These summery stages include many types of liver cancers, some of which are easier to treat than others. Localized liver cancer is when the cancer has not spread outside of the liver, according to the American Cancer Society. Regional liver cancer is when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or organs in close proximity to the liver. Distant liver cancer is when the cancer has spread to distant organs or tissues in the body.