Liver is the largest organ inside the body and plays one of the most vital roles in the functioning of the body. Digesting the food, storing energy, and cleansing the body are some of the important functions of the liver.
Liver cancer is a malignant disease of the liver and is a rare disease. The cancer is in the primary stage when it originates in the liver and becomes metastatic when it starts spreading to the other organs in the body.
Similar to other types of cancer, the symptoms of liver cancer are not noticeable in the early stages. In most cases, liver cancer is diagnosed in the advance stages. This happens because there are very few screening tests for liver cancer that are recommended. Hence, it is important for people with a family history of cancer to talk to their doctor and consider all risk factors for liver cancer.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of liver cancer can help a person evaluate the possibility of underlying cancer. Here are some sign and symptoms of liver cancer one should know about to be aware of the disease.
Swelling and pain in the abdomen
The liver is located under the ribs on the right side of the body. When there is liver swelling and built up of fluid in the abdominal cavity, abdominal swelling and pain can be experienced. A person cannot feel his/her liver, but it is possible to feel the swelling in the area where liver is located in case of liver cancer. A doctor can notice the enlarged liver, which is caused when there is liver cancer, by touching the area.
Bile-related liver cancer symptoms
In some cases of liver cancer, the tumors start spreading to the bile ducts resulting in the blockage of bile drainage from the liver. When the bile is unable to properly drain from the liver, the person’s skin and the white of the eye start appearing yellowish. This symptom is also indicative of jaundice, one of the possible symptoms of liver cancer. The improper drainage of bile also causes the urine to appear dark in color.
Symptoms related to hormonal changes
Liver cancer can lead to several changes in the hormones and cells in the blood that may show symptoms in the entire body. In most cases, the changes are detected from a blood test before the doctors diagnose the tumor. Signs and symptoms of liver cancer such as low blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, high blood calcium levels, and high red blood cells are found in people with liver cancer.
Symptoms related to high risk groups
Those who are suffering from liver cirrhosis or hepatitis B or C also show certain signs and symptoms of liver cancer. People suffering from these conditions are more likely to develop liver cancer. Their underlying condition or other liver-related issues make it difficult to diagnose the cancer as some liver cancer-related symptoms can go unnoticed. Those who fall in these high-risk groups should consult the doctor as soon as they notice any new symptom related to liver cancer.
Other signs and symptoms of liver cancer
Other signs and symptoms of liver cancer include weight loss, low appetite, weakness and fatigue, pain, fever, enlarged spleen, nausea and vomiting, and itching throughout the body.