If you have secondary liver cancer, this is not the right website for you. Our information is about primary liver cancer.
What is secondary cancer?
Often, when people say they have ‘liver cancer’ they mean they have cancer that has spread to the liver from somewhere else.
Cancer that has spread to another part of the body is called ‘secondary cancer’ (or metastasis in doctor-speak). Where the cancer started is the ‘primary’ cancer.
A lot of very common cancers can spread to the liver, including
- breast cancer
- bowel cancer
- lung cancer
Why you need to know where the cancer started
If you’re looking for information about cancer, it’s very important to know the type of primary cancer you have. That tells you the type of treatment you need.
When a cancer spreads, the cells are the same type as the primary cancer. Some cancer cells have broken away from the original tumour and travelled through the bloodstream or lymph system to another part of the body. There, they start to grow and produce a new tumour.
So, if (for example) you have breast cancer that has spread to your liver, the cancer cells in the liver will be breast cancer cells.
Because they are breast cancer cells, they’ll respond best to treatments for breast cancer, not liver cancer.
Where to find information
We are a charity that focuses on liver disease. So we don’t have information about other types of cancer. You can find detailed information on all types of cancer on
There are also specific charities for many types of cancer, for example:
If you are looking for a particular type of cancer, google the name of it, plus ‘UK’ and if there’s a particular charity dedicated to it, you’ll find it.