Liver Cancer – Symptoms & Treatment

Liver Cancer

One of the cancer forms with the quickest rate of growth in the United States is liver cancer, a potentially fatal condition. The destruction of liver cells and interference with the liver’s normal function occurs when cancerous growths appear in the liver. It classifies into primary and secondary.

The cells of the liver are where primary liver cancer starts. When cancer cells metastasize or move to the liver from another organ, secondary liver cancer occurs. This article emphasizes primary liver cancer, which means that it originated in the cells of your liver.


Early-stage liver cancer patients may not exhibit any symptoms at all. There are similar symptoms in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (IHC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC):

  • A lump below your ribcage, right abdominal discomfort, an ache near your right shoulder, or right-side abdominal pain.
  • Jaundice
  • Unexpected appetite loss, sickness, or weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Urine of a dark color.

How Do Medical Professionals Identify Liver Cancer?

If during your physical examination, your doctor notices any of the signs and symptoms of liver cancer, they may have an opinion that you have the disease. To find out more, they might request the following tests:

Blood tests

In order to check for liver enzymes, proteins, and other chemicals that indicate whether your liver is healthy or damaged, healthcare professionals may do blood tests for cancer, such as a liver function test. A test for AFP could be performed. A high AFP level might be a sign of liver cancer.

Ultrasound (sonography)

Your soft tissue structures are visualized during this examination. Ultrasound is a tool that doctors use to check for liver tumors.

Computed Tomography (CT) scan

This particular kind of X-ray creates precise pictures of your liver that show the size and location of liver tumors.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Using a huge magnet, radio waves, and a computer, this test creates extremely clear pictures of your body.


This examination aids medical professionals in examining the blood veins in your liver. During this test, your healthcare practitioner will inject you with dye so they can track the activity of your blood vessels and look for obstructions.


Medical professionals take liver tissue out to check for cancerous growth. Also, biopsies are the most reliable way to diagnose liver cancer.

Treatment of Liver Cancer

For liver cancer, there are several therapy options. When making a treatment plan recommendation, your doctor will take into account a number of variables. These consist of:

Partial hepatectomy

In order to remove a section of the liver, the doctor performs a partial hepatectomy. In this operation, the doctor treats liver cancer in its early stages. The healthy tissue that is still present will eventually grow back and fill up the gap.

Liver transplant

During a liver transplant, the complete liver is swapped out for a healthy liver from a reliable donor. If the disease has not progressed to other organs, a transplant may be an option. To stop your body from refusing the new liver, you will need to take medicines following the transplant.


Using heat, ice, or ethanol injections, ablation involves killing the cancer cells. During the procedure, local anesthesia is necessary. In order to keep you from feeling pain, this numbs the region. Furthermore, people who are not suitable candidates for surgery or a transplant may benefit from ablation.

Radiation Therapy

To destroy cancer cells, radiation treatment employs high-energy radiation beams. Through radiation, it may spread both internally and outside. The radiation from external beam radiotherapy is directed toward the areas of your body with cancer. Internal radiation entails injecting a small quantity of radioactive material into or close to the tumor.

Targeted Therapy

Medications used in targeted therapy are those that are intended to lessen tumor development and blood supply. Unlike chemotherapy or radiation, these drugs are specifically designed to target cancer cells. This implies that healthy cells can avoid damage.

Embolization, Chemoembolization, and Radioembolization

Procedures called embolization are utilized to cut off the blood supply to liver tumors. To partially block the hepatic artery, your doctor will inject microscopic particles. The tumor thus receives less blood flow. The portal vein, another blood channel, continues to supply nutrients to the healthy liver tissue.

Before injecting the blocking particles during chemoembolization, your doctor will administer chemotherapy medications into the hepatic artery. This delivers the chemotherapy medications right to the tumor. The obstruction decreases the blood supply to the tumor.

There is a combination of radiation treatment and embolization in radioembolization. Inject the hepatic artery with minute radioactive beads as part of the procedure. Then this decreases the blood supply to the tumor and delivers radiation treatment to the tumor’s immediate vicinity.


It is dangerous to have primary liver cancer. People frequently discover they have liver cancer after it has spread to an advanced stage. This reduces the range of available treatments. When that occurs, medical professionals concentrate on therapies that help you preserve your quality of life while relieving symptoms and slowing the spread of cancer.

Consult your healthcare practitioner if you have a severe form of liver cancer to obtain information about your treatment options, including advantages and disadvantages, so you can feel secure in your future decisions.