Weight Loss To Itching, Understanding The Symptoms Of Liver Cancer

Symptoms of liver cancer often appear in the advanced stages.

Symptoms of liver cancer often appear in the advanced stages.

Liver cancer can be classified into two main types: primary and secondary.

Liver cancer is reportedly on the rise in the United States, posing a significant health problem. It can be classified into two main types: primary and secondary. The primary liver cancer starts directly in the liver, whereas the secondary liver cancer results from the spread of cancer from elsewhere in the body.

Healthcare professionals often focus on an early intervention to improve the treatment of liver cancer, following strategies commonly used for different cancer types. What makes liver cancer unique is the thorough understanding among healthcare providers of the factors that raise the risk of its occurrence. As a result, healthcare professionals are dedicated to identifying individuals at higher risk, facilitating the early spotting and treatment of primary liver cancer.

Symptoms of liver cancer often manifest in the advanced stages, although there are instances where they may emerge earlier. Early medical consultation upon noticing any symptoms can result in a timelier diagnosis, thereby improving the chances of successful treatment. The following are common indicators of liver cancer:

  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling very full after a small meal
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • An enlarged liver felt full under the ribs on the right side
  • An enlarged spleen felt full under the ribs on the left side
  • Pain in the abdomen (belly) or near the right shoulder blade
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen (belly)
  • Itching
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

People with liver cancer may experience symptoms such as fever, visibly prominent veins on the abdomen and unusual bruising or bleeding. For those with chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis, there could be a sense of worsening health or observed changes in lab test results such as shifts in liver function tests or levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP).

Liver cancer cells can release hormones that impact organs outside the liver, resulting in:

  • Increased blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia), resulting in symptoms like nausea, confusion, constipation, weakness, or muscle issues.
  • Reduced blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), causing fatigue or fainting.
  • Breast enlargement (gynecomastia) and/or testicular shrinkage in men.
  • Increased red blood cell counts (erythrocytosis), causing a flushed, red appearance.
  • Increased cholesterol levels.


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