Cancer that originates in the liver is known as liver cancer, hepatic cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma (from the Greek hēpar, meaning liver).
- Primary liver cancer - Cancer that begins in the tissue of the liver, an organ in the digestive system.
- Secondary liver cancer - Cancer from the colon, lung, breast or other parts of the body spreads to the liver.
- Non-cancerous (benign) tumors - Tumors may also form in the liver.
Often, liver cancer symptoms do not occur until late stages. Some symptoms may include:
- Pain in the abdomen, particularly in the upper right side, that may also be in back and shoulder.
- Swollen abdomen.
- Loss of appetite and weight.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Weakness and tiredness.
- Yellow coloring of the skin, whites of your eyes and dark urine (jaundice).
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a MemorialCare Physician partner.
Risk Factors & Prevention
You are at a greater risk for liver cancer risk if you:
- Are male.
- Are over the age of 40 years.
- Are African American, Asian or Polynesian.
- Suffer from certain types of liver diseases, such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) or cirrhosis.
- Are exposed to aflatoxins – a mold found in food such as peanuts, corn and soybeans.
- Are Diabetic.
The causes for liver cancer are unknown. By avoiding hepatitis infections, moldy grains, limiting alcohol use and not smoking you can help reduce your risk for liver cancer.