top-menu

Liver Cancer

This is the official site of the American Cancer Fund®

 

If you have found this information helpful, please make a donation by clicking the orange button on the upper right corner.

What is Liver Cancer?

Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Primary liver cancer starts in the liver. Metastatic liver cancer starts somewhere else and spreads to your liver.

Risk factors for primary liver cancer include:

– Having hepatitis B or C
– Heavy alcohol use
– Having cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver
– Having hemochromatosis, an iron storage disease
– Obesity and diabetes

Symptoms can include a lump or pain on the right side of your abdomen and yellowing of the skin. However, you may not have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. This makes it harder to treat. Doctors use tests that examine the liver and the blood to diagnose liver cancer. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or liver transplantation.  For more information about symptoms and treatment, click here.

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

The most common form of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which begins in the main type of liver cell (hepatocyte). Other types of cells in the liver can develop cancer, but these are much less common.

Not all cancers that affect the liver are considered liver cancer. 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. And 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.

For more information about the liver and liver cancer, start here with this information from John Hopkins.

 

Other Reliable Resources

The Mayo Clinic

Johns Hopkins

Prevent Cancer Foundation

U.S. National Library of Medicine