What is Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer is cancer that starts in the liver. Liver cancer tends to develop in several parts of the liver at the same time.

Primary liver cancer is cancer that started in the liver. Secondary liver cancer, also called liver metastases, is when cancer starts somewhere else in the body and has then spread to the liver.

There are four main types of liver cancer:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (most common type of liver cancer)
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Hepatoblastoma
  • Angiosarcoma

What is hepatoma (primary liver cancer)?

Also called hepatocellular carcinoma, this is the most common form of primary liver cancer. Chronic infection with hepatitis B and hepatitis C increases the risk of developing this type of cancer. Other causes include certain chemicals, alcoholism, and chronic liver cirrhosis.

Symptoms of Liver Hepatoma

The following are the most common symptoms of a liver hepatoma:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Large mass in upper, right part of abdomen
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

Diagnosing Liver Hepatoma

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for a liver hepatoma may include the following:

Treatment for liver hepatoma

Treatment for liver cancer is based on the type of live cancer, location and the stage.

Treatment for liver hepatoma may include the following:

Liver Cancer Stages

The National Cancer Institute defines the following stages for primary liver cancer:

Localized resectable

Cancer is in the liver only, has not spread, and can be removed completely with surgery.

Localized unresectable

Cancer is in the liver only, has not spread, but cannot be totally removed, usually due to its location near major blood vessels.

Advanced

Cancer has spread throughout the liver or to other parts of the body.

Recurrent

Cancer has come back after it was treated.

What is metastatic liver cancer?

Metastatic Liver Cancer is a cancer that starts in another part of the body and spreads. Cancer that has spread from other areas in the body to the liver usually originated in the lung, breast, colon, pancreas, or stomach. Leukemia and other blood cancers sometimes also spread to the liver.

Symptoms of Metastatic Liver Cancer

The following are the most common symptoms of metastatic liver cancer:

  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Enlarged, hard, and tender liver
  • Fever
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Ascites (fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

Diagnosing Metastatic Liver Cancer

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for metastatic liver cancer may include the following:

Treatment for metastatic liver cancer

Treatment for metastatic liver cancer may include any of the following:

For more information on liver cancer treatment or to schedule an appointment, contact Christian Hospital at 314.747.9355 or toll-free at 877.747.9355 or email us.