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Liver Cancer Symptoms and Treatment

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What are the symptoms of liver cancer?

In the United States, hepatocellular carcinoma can be found during routine screening examinations or found incidentally on exams performed for other unrelated reasons. While some patients may not have symptoms, others may experience:

  • Weight loss
  • Blood in the stool
  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid in abdomen

How is liver cancer diagnosed?

When you see your physician, you will have a routine examination. Your doctor will ask you questions about your general health and your family history of cancer and liver disease. You will also be asked about your lifestyle and habits, including drinking and smoking.

Your physician may order the following tests:

  • Blood work. Blood tests may include a complete blood count, hematocrit, platelet count, liver function tests, and alpha fetoprotein, which may be elevated in patients with liver cancer.
  • Abdominal ultrasound. This test helps the doctor see the tumor
  • CT scan. This test identifies the tumor(s) and pinpoints their size and location in the liver, as well as their relation to the vascular / biliary structures. It also helps the doctor to determine the overall health of the liver.
  • MRI. This test identifies the tumor(s) and pinpoints their size and location in the liver, as well as their relation to the vascular / biliary structures. It also helps the doctor to determine the overall health of the liver.  A doctor will determine whether to do a CT scan, an MRI or both.
  • Liver biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope.

What is the treatment for liver cancer?

Treatment for liver cancer includes a combination of the following: