Liver cancer can destroy liver cells and block connections between the liver and other organs. As a result, liver cancer may prevent the liver from processing a substance called bilirubin. This causes a buildup of bilirubin within the blood, leading to jaundice.
This article looks at how liver cancer affects the skin. It will explain the connection between liver cancer and jaundice. It will also detail the relationship between jaundice and liver cancer stages, other liver cancer symptoms, and when to contact a doctor.
Cancer is uncontrolled, abnormal cell growth. It can begin in many of the body’s cells. When it begins in liver cells, it is called liver cancer.
Doctors classify liver cancer in stages. The stages correspond to the cancer’s severity, with later stages meaning more severe cancer. According to the
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However, liver cancer is not the only cause of jaundice.
Anyone with symptoms of jaundice should speak with a doctor.
The liver has many functions. One liver function is processing a yellowish pigment called bilirubin. The body forms bilirubin when red blood cells break down. In a functioning liver, the processed bilirubin travels into the intestines.
Liver cancer can interfere with liver function. If the cancer destroys a significant amount of liver cells, the liver cannot process typical amounts of bilirubin. Additionally, liver cancer may spread to nearby organs, preventing bilirubin from entering the intestines.
As a result of such processes, there can be a bilirubin buildup within the blood. This is what causes jaundice.
Liver cancer does not only affect the skin. There are many possible symptoms of liver cancer. Some symptoms stem from the cancer’s effects on the liver itself.
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
- feeling full despite eating less than is typical
- an enlarged liver or spleen
- fluid buildup in the abdomen (ascites)
- enlarged veins on the abdomen
- abnormal bleeding or bruising
- abdominal pain
In some cases, liver tumors can release certain hormones. These hormones can create imbalances within the body, which may then affect other organs in addition to the liver.
Such processes could cause further symptoms of liver cancer:
- Hormones causing a high blood calcium level: These may induce nausea, constipation, confusion, weakness, and muscle problems.
- Hormones causing a low blood sugar level: These could induce fatigue or fainting.
- Hormones causing high counts of red blood cells: These could induce a flushed appearance.
Liver cancer can also cause high cholesterol levels, breast enlargement, and shrinking of the testicles.
Not everyone with symptoms of liver cancer will have jaundice. However, anyone who has symptoms of jaundice should seek medical advice. Even if they do not indicate liver cancer, it could be a sign of a different condition.
Getting an earlier diagnosis of liver cancer could improve a person’s outlook.
According to the ACS, the relative 5-year survival rate for early stage liver cancer is around
Some treatment options are very effective. In people with early stage liver cancer who have received a liver transplant, the 5-year survival rate is 60–70%.
Liver cancer occurs when liver cells grow abnormally. This can result in liver dysfunction, causing an elevated blood bilirubin level. For this reason, liver cancer may cause jaundice. People with jaundice have itchy, yellowish skin.
There are many other symptoms of liver cancer, such as nausea, fever, and confusion. Talking with a doctor about these symptoms could lead to an early diagnosis and earlier treatment. This could make a difference in a person’s outlook.