What Is the Prognosis for Stage III Liver Cancer?

The prognosis for stage III liver cancer depends on whether the cancer is localized or regional, according to the American Cancer Society. Localized liver cancers have a 28 percent five-year survival rate, while regional cancers have a 7 percent survival rate five years after the cancer is diagnosed.

Some types of stage III liver cancers are localized, which means they have not left the liver, says the American Cancer Society. Other stage III cancers are regional, which means they have spread to nearby organs. The survival rates are higher for patients who have surgery to remove the malignancy. If these patients have no pre-existing conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver, their survival rate can be over 50 percent.

There are three types of stage III liver cancers: IIIA, IIIB and IIIC, explains the American Cancer Society. They are characterized by the cancer not having invaded nearby lymph nodes or distant organs, but the tumors tend to be large. Sometimes they have spread into a major vein in the liver or have penetrated a nearby organ besides the gallbladder. Though the prognosis looks at the five-year survival rate, many liver cancer patients live longer than five years. Other patients do not live as long as five years, and other patients die of causes other than their cancer.