The liver is an organ that lies in the upper right portion of the abdomen, beneath the diaphragm, and next to the stomach. There are several types of cancer that originate in the liver, including hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common), intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, and hepatoblastoma, which usually occurs in children. Although these cancers all arise in the liver, they typically present with different sets of symptoms that may not appear until the later stages of the disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Liver Cancer?
Early on, while the tumor is still small and patients are considered curable, it is rare to experience any symptoms, which is one of the reasons liver cancer is so difficult to diagnose. As the cancer progresses sometimes insidiously, some symptoms however may become more noticeable, including:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Loss of appetite or feeling full after eating small meals
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bruising or bleeding easily
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain (especially on the upper right side, where the liver is located)
- Lump on the right side of the abdomen
- Pain in the right shoulder
- Swollen abdomen
- Ankle swelling
- Itchy skin
Note that most of these symptoms are not specific to liver cancer and are present in many other conditions, which is another reason liver cancer is a difficult to diagnose early. Some liver tumors may also cause hormones to act on organs other than the liver. These hormones may give rise to symptoms such as:
- High blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea, confusion, constipation, weakness, or muscle issues
- Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), which may cause fatigue or fainting
- Breast enlargement (gynecomastia) or shrinkage of the testicles in men
- High red blood cell count (erythrocytosis), which can cause someone to appear red and flushed
- High cholesterol levels
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with a doctor as soon as possible.
Schedule a Consultation at our State-of-the-Art Oncology Center
At USA Oncology Centers, our interventional radiologists are experts in providing minimally invasive liver cancer treatments, such as radioembolization (Y-90), transarterial chemoembolization, and ablation therapy. If you have been diagnosed with primary or secondary liver cancer, give us a call at 855-870-4747 or schedule a consultation with our team at USA Oncology Centers. Our internationally known interventional oncologists are happy to answer any questions about the treatments we offer.
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