What to Expect When Dying of Liver Cancer


Terminal liver cancer is unpleasant no matter how you look at it, but understanding what to expect can help you prepare yourself mentally for the end. Where the cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body and the hope of forcing the cancer into remission has ended, death from liver cancer becomes an inevitability rather than a possibility.

Liver Cancer

  • According to Medline Plus, liver cancer is normally seen in individuals who are older--the initial diagnosis is rarely made in someone younger than 50 years of age. The risk of developing liver cancer is exacerbated by abuse of alcohol, an excess of iron in the body, or the presence of certain viruses such as hepatitis B and C.

Metastatic Cancer

  • According to the National Cancer Institute, once liver cancer metastasizes, the goal shifts from aiming for a remission to aiming to extend life as long as possible, but understanding that the fight against liver cancer is no longer winnable. Symptoms to expect where your cancer has metastasized and you are dying of liver cancer include unexplained weight loss and pain throughout the body as the cancer moves into the bones and other organs.

Anecdotal Reports

  • Individuals on the website Medhelp.com experiencing or living with someone with end-stage liver cancer have reported that in many cases dying from liver cancer is a rather subdued event. Many individuals reported that the patient simply suffered from increasing levels of fatigue until he was on permanent bed rest coupled with a complete loss of appetite. This situation normally persists until the end.

Health Care

  • As liver cancer nears its conclusion, expect that the goals of medical care providers will shift accordingly. It is likely that many medical procedures will cease, and the focus will shift to pain relief rather than attempting to maximize the amount of time the patient spends in an impaired state. The possibility of hospice care is one alternative for the late-stage liver cancer patient, which is a facility dedicated to making terminally ill patients as comfortable as possible.


  • According to the Mayo Clinic, there is a psychological process related to impending death, culminating in acceptance. Although you might be familiar with the various "stages" of death (such as anger and denial), do not assume that your individual experience will mirror this generic process. In general, the best thing that you can do is to take full advantage of your life before it ends.

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