10 Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Liver Cancer To Pay Attention To

Date December 21, 2017

What is liver cancer?

The liver is a very important organ in your body that has a range of essential functions. It filters the blood transforming nutrients from the food you eat into ready-to-use chemicals. The liver also does an amazing job cleaning your body: it removes toxins and other waste products. That’s why it is necessary to know more about this vital organ and what happens when cancer cells start to grow in it.

Several forms of cancer may grow in the liver. The most common type is hepatocellular carcinoma that affects the main type of liver cells. Other types of liver cancer are relatively rare.

It is important to remember that not all cancers that involve the liver are actual liver cancer. Cancer may start in other areas of the body and then spreads to the liver. This is metastatic cancer. The condition that metastasized to the liver is more common than cancer that began in the liver.

What causes this disease

Most people who have liver cancer develop it as the complication of chronic liver disease, called cirrhosis. The latter may occur due to the alcohol abuse, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Other factors also play a large role. One study, conducted at the University of California, demonstrates that long-term exposure to triclosan leads to liver fibrosis and cancer in mice. However, there is a need for additional studies.

The treatment usually depends on how much cancer has already spread and other factors, including general health and other health conditions.

Symptoms of liver cancer

Typically, liver cancer shows no symptoms at an early stage.

As the disease progresses, the signs and symptoms may include the following:

  • losing weight for no reason;
  • loss of appetite;
  • abdominal pain;
  • abdominal swelling;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • weakness and fatigue;
  • jaundice – yellow discoloration of the whites of the eyes and the skin;
  • white stools;
  • itching;
  • swollen legs.

Risk factors for liver cancer

Several things increase your risk of primary liver cancer. They include the following:

  • chronic hepatitis;
  • cirrhosis – this serious condition results in scar tissues in the liver and increases the chances of developing cancer;
  • some inherited liver diseases, such as hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease;
  • diabetes;
  • fatty liver disease;
  • excessive alcohol consumption.

How you can prevent liver cancer

Cirrhosis is the most common cause of liver cancer, so prevention of cirrhosis can help stop the development of liver cancer. People who were diagnosed with a cirrhotic liver should perform an ultrasound exam of the liver once every six months to detect early changes.

Source: MayoClinic, MedicineNet, WebMD

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.