Liver cancer risk factors, symptoms

Liver cancer risk factors, symptoms

Liver cancer risk factors, symptoms

The liver is located on the right side of the body below the ribs in the abdominal cavity. The liver is indispensable for the metabolism of the organism. Among other things, it serves as a “detoxifying organ”. Liver cancer originates from the liver cells (hepatocytes).

Liver and adjacent organs

  1. right lobe of liver 2. liver 3. gallbladder 4. left liver lobe 5. bile duct 6. pancreas 7. small intestine

Much more common than the liver cancer itself, which originates from the liver cells, are liver metastases, ie offshoots of other tumors in the liver. Liver metastases are mostly of intestinal, gastric, lung or breast cancer.

Liver cancer risk factors

In more than 80% of cases, liver cancer occurs due to cirrhosis, the chronic destruction of liver tissue. The risk factors for liver cirrhosis are excessive alcohol consumption and / or a chronic viral infection of the liver (hepatitis B or C). You can be vaccinated against hepatitis B – the vaccine reduces the risk of developing liver cancer due to chronic hepatitis B.

Liver cancer symptoms

Liver cancer causes symptoms only at an advanced stage of the disease:

  • Possible nonspecific, general symptoms
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • inexplicable weight loss
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, persistent fever
  • physical weakness, reduced performance
  • Possible late symptoms
  • Yellowing of the eyes and the skin
  • growing belly circumference
  • palpable swelling under the ribs right
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Thought disorder, apathy

Liver cancer diagnosis

For diagnosis, the liver is visualized, for example with ultrasound or computed tomography. In addition, a biopsy can be performed.

Liver cancer therapy

For treatment, for example, the affected part of the liver is surgically removed. If the cancer has not yet metastasized, certain patients can remove the entire liver and replace it with the liver of an organ donor.