Symptoms of Liver Cancer

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Liver cancer is a silent tumour that only causes symptoms when it is in an advanced stage and will probably no longer respond to treatments with a curative intent. Therefore, patients at risk of developing liver cancer should be enrolled in early diagnosis screening programmes based around a six-monthly abdominal ultrasound.  

The most common symptoms of liver cancer are: 

fatigue

Tiredness. Tiredness is a typical symptom in patients with chronic liver disease, consequently a sudden worsening of this symptom is cause to suspect the presence of a liver tumour. 

swelling of the abdomen, ascites

Increase in abdominal girth. Liver cancer can be associated with abdominal fluid retention (called ascites) that manifests as an increase in abdominal circumference.  

Coloración amarilla de la piel y mucosas, ictericia

Jaundice. In advanced stages, patients often develop a yellow discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes. 

abdominal pain

Abdominal pain. Only the liver’s surrounding capsule has sensitive nerve endings, which means that as long as tumour growth is limited to inside the liver, it rarely causes any pain. However, when it penetrates outside the capsule or the abnormal growth causes distension, patients will generally notice a constant, low-intensity abdominal pain. 

Closed stomach, Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite and weight loss. These symptoms are indicative of an advanced tumour. 

Substantiated information by:

Alejandro Forner González
Jordi Bruix Tudo
María Reig Monzón
Neus Llarch Alfonso

Published: 13 May 2020
Updated: 13 May 2020

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