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Liver Cancer | Key Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) tends to occur in livers damaged by birth defects, alcohol abuse, or chronic infection with diseases such as hepatitis B and C, hemochromatosis (a hereditary disease associated with too much iron in the liver), and cirrhosis.

Several types of cancer can form in the liver. The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which begins in the main type of liver cell (hepatocyte). Other types of liver cancer, such as intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma, are much less common.

How Is The Liver Important To The Body?

By definition, the liver is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly.  In addition, the liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines.

On the other hand, the liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions. Also, the liver continuously filters blood that circulates through the body. In that case, converting nutrients and drugs absorbed from the digestive tract into ready-to-use chemicals.

The liver performs many other important functions, such as removing toxins and other chemical waste products from the blood and readying them for excretion. Because all the blood in the body must pass through it, the liver is unusually accessible to cancer cells traveling in the bloodstream.

What Is Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer is cancer that begins in the cells of your liver. Your liver is a football-sized organ that sits in the upper right portion of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above your stomach.

Cancer that spreads to the liver is more common than cancer that begins in the liver cells. Cancer that begins in another area of the body — such as the colon, lung or breast — and then spreads to the liver is called metastatic cancer rather than liver cancer.

This type of cancer is named after the organ in which it began — such as metastatic colon cancer to describe cancer that begins in the colon and spreads to the liver.

Liver Cancer

What Are The Symptoms Of Liver Cancer?

Signs and symptoms of cancer often do not show up until the later stages of the disease. But, sometimes they may show up sooner.

If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed earlier. Eventually, when treatment is most likely to be helpful.

Some of the most common symptoms of liver cancer are:

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