Liver cancer forms in the cells of part of your digestive system. Specifically, they form in your liver, which is an organ that cleans your blood and helps your body process nutrients. Compared to other types of cancer, such as lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer, liver cancer isn’t as common.
However, liver cancer is often diagnosed as a secondary form of cancer. A patient may have a primary type of cancer, such as colon cancer, that later spreads (or metastasizes), to the liver. Read on to learn about the early and later symptoms of liver cancer, along with risk factors and prevention steps.
Early Symptoms of Liver Cancer
Many patients are asymptomatic in the early stages of liver cancer, meaning they don’t notice any symptoms or the changes they do notice are easily explained away. Many of the symptoms of liver cancer can mimic other mild gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances that often go ignored. It’s important to note that if any type of GI symptoms last for more than a few days, you should consult your doctor.
Some of the early symptoms of liver cancer include unexplained fatigue or weakness, unintended weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal swelling, upper abdominal pain, chalky or white stools, itching and yellow-colored skin or eyes (jaundice). Generally, jaundice is a sign of any type of liver dysfunction or disease. If you notice a yellow tinge developing in your face or eyes, it’s important to consult your physician as soon as possible.