Liver cancer is one of the most serious types of cancer. It's so serious because there are not many symptoms and you don't normally know you have it until the cancer has already started spreading (metastasizing) to other organs within the body.
There several different forms.
Hepatocellular (also known as carcinoma and hepatoma): begins in the liver and can spread to other organs. 90 to 95% of liver cancers arise from liver cells. Patients tend to have this type of cancer after having cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis but no one is immune to this disease.
Metastatic: starts in other organs and parts of the body (colon, stomach, pancreas, breast, and lungs) and spreads to the liver.
Here are the main symptoms of liver cancer for each type:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal swelling
- Pain on the right side
- Enlarged liver
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Enlarged spleen
Other symptoms that can occur when a person has had liver cancer for a while include a condition called ascites (swelling of the abdominal cavity) and encephalopathy (confusion and drowsiness). These symptoms are usually due to the toxins that have reached the brain. Jaundice will become even more evident as the condition gets worse.
It can be difficult to connect any of these symptoms with liver cancer at first because they are also signs of other diseases. However, if you experience any of these symptoms it's important to see your doctor and have the appropriate tests run. Don't wait around if you think you may have a problem. This disease is too serious.
For more information on topics related to this article, click on Types of Liver Cancer .
George McKenzie is a retired TV anchor, medical reporter and radio talk show host. He is a frequent contributor to Health Information Articles , a resource site about health and wellness.