Liver cancer is cancer that originates in the liver. Certain diseases, such as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, can increase a person’s risk of developing liver cancer. In countries where these diseases are more prevalent, the rates of liver cancer are much higher. The presence of cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, or obesity also increase the risk of developing liver cancer.
The occurrence of symptoms is rare in the early stages of liver cancer. Those who do experience symptoms might suffer from nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, and abdominal pain. Some less common symptoms include jaundice and white stools.
Liver cancer is generally diagnosed using blood tests and imaging tests. An ultrasound is a common imaging test ordered for diagnosing liver cancer. Your doctor may also order a CT scan to aid in diagnosis.
There are several options for treating liver cancer. Surgery, such as a liver transplant, is one such option. Your doctor may also recommend radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or some ablation techniques. Your treatment plan will depend largely on the type and stage of liver cancer you’re diagnosed with.
Due to the lack of early onset symptoms which leads to later stage diagnoses, the outcomes of liver cancer are not as favorable as with other cancers. If you think you may be at risk for liver cancer, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your concerns.