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Liver cancer occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cancer cells that form a malignant tumor in the liver. The most common type of liver cancer is metastatic liver cancer or secondary liver cancer. Metastatic liver cancer grows from cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) from another part of the body. It is also called secondary liver cancer. Primary liver cancer occurs when a malignant tumor originates in the liver itself. Primary liver cancer is far rarer than metastatic liver cancer.
The liver is a vital organ located in the upper right area of the abdomen. The liver play an important role in fighting infection, stopping bleeding, clearing the blood of toxins, storing energy, producing healthy blood, digesting food and removing waste.
Normally, cells in the pancreas that are old or damaged will stop dividing and die before they can become cancerous. These cells are usually replaced by healthy young cells. Liver cancer occurs when old or damaged cells continue to divide and multiply uncontrollably and develop into a malignant tumor. As a malignant tumor grows, it seriously interferes with the functions of the liver, which are essential to life. It is not unusual for several malignant tumors to grow in the liver.
Having certain diseases can lead to liver cancer. These include cirrhosis of the liver, chronic alcoholism, chronic hepatitis C and chronic hepatitis B. People at risk for developing liver cancer also include those who are obese or have diabetes, especially if they have had hepatitis or drink excessively.
Liver cancer is most curable if caught in the earliest stage of the disease. However, there are generally no symptoms in early stages of liver cancer. If there are symptoms, they can be very vague and include nausea, weight loss, and loss of appetite. For additional symptoms, refer to symptoms of liver cancer.
Diagnosing liver cancer and its stage of advancement begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms and risk factors for liver cancer. Diagnosis also includes completing a full physical examination.
Diagnostic testing includes blood tests called liver function tests that can determine how well the liver is functioning. Imaging tests that create a picture of the liver can include a CT scan, ultrasound, MRI, or an angiogram.
Diagnostic testing may also include a liver biopsy. In a liver biopsy, a small sample of liver tissue is taken and examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells. The sample can be taken using a needle inserted through the skin or during a laparoscopic procedure. In a laparoscopic procedure, a sample of the suspected malignant tumor is taken through a small incision in the abdomen.
A diagnosis of liver cancer can be missed or delayed because there are generally no symptoms in early stages of the disease. Additionally, symptoms of liver cancer are similar to those of other diseases and conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, gallstones, indigestion, and gastritis. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of liver cancer.
Treatment of liver cancer varies, depending on the stage of advancement of the disease and other factors. Treatment may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, liver transplant in some cases and other treatments. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of liver cancer....more »
A diagnosis of liver cancer can be delayed or missed because there are generally no symptoms until the disease has reached an advanced stage. In addition, some symptoms of liver cancer can be vague and similar to other diseases, conditions and disorders. These include influenza, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatic cancer, gastroenteritis, gastritis, gall ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Liver cancer.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to Liver cancer:
Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Liver cancer, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
The best prognosis for a cure for liver cancer occurs when it is diagnosed and treated in its very earliest stage. Treatment plans for liver cancer are individualized for each person's specific case. Treatment plans are based on the specific type and stage of advancement of the liver cancer, the condition of the liver, a person's medical history, generally health, age, coexisting ...Liver cancer Treatments
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Liver cancer may include:
Review further information on Liver cancer Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Liver cancer may include:
Real-life user stories relating to Liver cancer:
The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible
causes of Liver cancer as a symptom.
Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using,
including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Liver cancer may include these symptoms:
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:
Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Liver cancer:
Read more about causes and Liver cancer deaths.
Chronic liver disease often undiagnosed: One study reported that 50% of patients with a chronic liver disease remain undiagnosed by their primary physician. The reasons are multifactorial. Possible conditions include chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, ...read more »
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Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:
Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:
Malignant neoplastic disease of the liver usually occurring as a metastasis from another cancer; symptoms include loss of appetite and weakness and bloating and jaundice and upper abdominal discomfort
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the liver.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)
The list below shows some of the causes of Liver cancer mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Liver cancer. Of the 40 causes of Liver cancer that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Liver cancer' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Liver cancer or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have Liver cancer or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Liver cancer based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Medical Conditions associated with Liver cancer:
Liver symptoms (1644 causes), Liver problems (1613 causes), Upper abdominal symptoms (2707 causes), Abdominal symptoms (5930 causes), Cancer-related symptoms (173 causes), Digestive symptoms (5299 causes)
Symptoms related to Liver cancer:
Jaundice (789 causes), Hepatitis (42 causes), Swollen liver (1314 causes), Alcoholic liver disease, Alcoholism, Liver conditions, Hepatitis B, Cirrhosis of the liver, Other cancers, Metastasis, Chronic hepatitis B, Breast cancer (3 causes), Aflatoxin
Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:
These general medical articles may be of interest:
Medical research papers related to Liver cancer include:
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