Liver Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Liver Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Liver is one of the most vital organs of the body. Liver cancer causes the liver to malfunction which may further result in imbalance in the metabolism of the body. Read on to find what are the liver cancer signs and symptoms.

In humans, the liver is located below the right lung and the diaphragm. This pinkish-brown, triangular shaped organ is said to be the largest gland of the body that performs important functions of the metabolism such as protein synthesis, hormone production, production of substances required for the digestion process, detoxification of harmful substances, etc. Since there are so many different functions that the liver performs, there are numerous dissimilar types of tissue present in it. This is the reason for the occurrence of so many varied types of tumors in the liver. These tumors may be of two types namely, malignant or benign.

Liver cancer, also called hepatocellular carcinoma, occurs due to the malignant type tumors. There are numerous signs and symptoms of liver cancer. Unfortunately, liver cancer symptoms are not very noticeable hence, by the time the symptoms are visible, the cancer has reached an advanced stage. Mentioned below is a list of liver cancer signs and symptoms.

Symptoms of Liver Cancer

Sharp spasmodic abdominal pain near the right side ribs.
Nausea and vomiting due to the lack of biles and enzymes, needed for food digestion.
Appetite loss as digestion process is affected.
Quick loss of weight due to loss of appetite.
Jaundice, i.e. yellow fever marked by yellow coloration of skin and yellowness of the white region of the eye.
Ascites i.e. inflation of the belly, like that of a pregnant woman.
Frequent fatigue and muscle weakness.
Frequent drowsiness.
Emotional imbalance like confusion and restlessness.
Infection-less and prolonged fever.
Color of the urine may be darker than usual.

Liver cancer is mostly observed in men. Higher rate of liver cancer is seen in individuals above 40 years of age. Major cause for liver cancer is liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis is a condition of turning of the normal liver tissues into scarred dead ones caused by inflammation due to a chronic liver disease such as long-term hepatitis C. A patient suffering from hepatitis B and C for a prolonged period is known to develop liver cancer. Alcohol abuse, excess smoking and frequent consumption of steroids may cause liver cancer. Arsenic in water can also lead to it.

The various methods to detect different types of liver cancer are blood tests, ultrasound, Computer Tomography (CT) scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). A biopsy may be required in case the previous tests prove to be deceptive in detecting liver cancer cells. In a biopsy, a needle is inserted in the liver and a small sample of liver tissues are extracted, which is tested for cancer cells.

The liver cancer treatments include cryotherapy/cryosurgery, ablation, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. If liver cancer or liver cirrhosis is detected at the initial stage then, the part affected by the tumor is removed by surgery. If the damage done to the liver tissues is irreversible and the liver functions fail, then a liver transplant is essential. For a liver transplant, a suitable liver has to be found and the cancer should not have spread to the surrounding organs.

Liver cancer signs and symptoms emerge at an advanced state which is extremely dangerous for the patient’s life. Proper medications and treatments have kept liver cancer death rate in considerable control. If any of the above signs and symptoms of liver cancer are seen, the best thing to do is to consult your physician immediately.

Tags: ALT, AST, ascites, cancer, cirrhosis, disease, expectancy, fibrosis, hemachromatosis, hepatitis