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Liver Cancer: Symptoms and Types

Do not ignore your symptoms!

Find out what could be causing them

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Liver Cancer

is the growth and spread of unhealthy cells in the liver. Cancer that starts in the liver is called primary liver cancer. Cancer that spreads to the liver from another organ is called metastatic liver cancer.

Two types of cancer affect the liver:

1. Primary cancer first begins in the liver and may spread to other organs. The most common primary cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma.

2. Metastasized cancer of the liver comes originally from another part of the body. Cancer cells can easily travel from another affected organ to the liver because of the role the liver plays in filtering the blood.

Risk factors that you need to know

• chronic hepatitis B and C infection
• cirrhosis of the liver
diabetes mellitus
• exposure to toxins, such as certain types of fungi (aflatoxin), vinyl chloride, anabolic steroids, and arsenic
• smoking

Pay special attention to these symptoms

• unexplained weight loss
• loss of appetite
• feeling very full after eating, even if the meal was small
• feeling sick and vomiting
• pain or swelling in your abdomen
• Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
• feeling very tired and weak

How can you prevent this type of cancer

• Reduce your risk of cirrhosis
• Get vaccinated against hepatitis B
• Take measures to prevent hepatitis C
• Ask your doctor about liver cancer screening

Regular check-ups for liver cancer (known as surveillance) are often recommended for people known to have a high risk of developing the condition, such as those with cirrhosis.

Having regular check-ups helps ensure the condition is diagnosed early. The earlier liver cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment is likely to be.


Dr. Vijay Anand Reddy,


Director Apollo Cancer Institutes,

Apollo Health City, Hyderabad

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