Liver Cancer Symptoms
Primary liver cancer is an uncommon but serious type of cancer that begins in the liver. The exact cause of liver cancer is unknown, but most cases are associated with damage and scarring of the liver known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can have a number of different causes, including drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over many years and having a long-term hepatitis B or hepatitis C viral infection. It is also believed obesity and an unhealthy diet can increase the risk of liver cancer because this can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
By avoiding or cutting down on alcohol, eating healthily and exercising regularly, and taking steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected with hepatitis B and C, you may be able to significantly reduce your chances of developing liver cancer.
Most people who get liver cancer get it in the setting of chronic liver disease (long-term liver damage calledcirrhosis), which scars the liver and increases the risk for liver cancer. Liver cancer is usually diagnosed after a consultation with a GP and a referral to a hospital specialist for further tests, such as scans of your liver. However, regular check-ups for liver cancer (known as surveillance) are often recommended for people known to have a high risk of developing the condition, such as those with cirrhosis.
Having regular check-ups helps ensure the condition is diagnosed early. The earlier liver cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment is likely to be. Treatment for liver cancer depends on the stage the condition is at. If diagnosed early, it may be possible to remove the cancer completely. However, only a small proportion of liver cancers are diagnosed at a stage where these treatments are suitable. Most people are diagnosed when the cancer has spread too far to be removed or completely destroyed.
Most people don’t have signs and symptoms in the early stages of primary liver cancer. When signs and symptoms do appear, they may include:
1. Losing weight without trying
2. Loss of appetite
3. Upper abdominal pain
4. Nausea and vomiting
5. General weakness and fatigue
6. Abdominal swelling