Liver cancer can cause several nonspecific symptoms to occur in females. However, a person typically does not experience these symptoms until cancer reaches a more advanced stage.
- removing waste and worn-out cells from the blood
- storing nutrients
- producing bile for digesting fats and eliminating waste
- filtering and processing chemicals in alcohol, medications, and foods
Liver cancer occurs when cells in the liver begin to grow uncontrollably. These cells can eventually form a tumor. As the tumor grows, it can spread to other areas of the body. Symptoms often do not appear
This article reviews liver cancer symptoms, risk factors, treatments, and outlooks.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
The symptoms of liver cancer are nonspecific in both females and males. This means that the symptoms a person develops
Some common symptoms that may indicate liver cancer or other issues with the liver include:
- unintentional weight loss
- a loss of appetite
- feeling full early
- swelling in the abdomen
- jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes
- an enlarged spleen, which may feel like a fullness under the ribs on the left side
- an enlarged liver, which may feel like a fullness under the ribs on the right side
- pain in the abdomen or near the right shoulder blade
Anyone experiencing one or more of the symptoms above should speak with a healthcare professional, who can help determine the underlying cause.
According to the
- smoking cigarettes
- long-term hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infection
- excess weight or obesity
- drinking alcohol
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- eating foods that contain aflatoxin, which a type of fungus that can grow on improperly stored foods produces
People with one or more risk factors may wish to discuss screening for liver cancer with a doctor. Some experts recommend screening with ultrasound scans and blood tests every
A person may consider having a follow-up appointment with a healthcare professional for further information about treatments or recommendations to help decrease their chances of developing liver disease and liver cancer.
Liver cancer treatments can vary between people based on several factors including a person’s age, overall health, and tumor size.
A healthcare professional may recommend surveillance for an area of abnormal tissue smaller than
Active treatments for liver cancer may include one or more of the following:
- ablation therapy, such as radiofrequency ablation
- surgical procedures, such as liver transplant
- embolization therapy, which uses chemicals to block blood flow to the liver, preventing the tumor from growing
- immunotherapy, which uses a person’s immune system to attack their liver cancer cells
- targeted therapy, which uses medications to identify and attack specific cancer cells
- radiation therapy
A doctor can discuss the pros and cons of each treatment to determine what the best choices are for an individual situation.
Some people may wish to participate in a clinical trial, which is a study that tests a new treatment method for safety and effectiveness. A person will need a doctor’s approval before entering a clinical trial, and they may not be elligible for every trial.
Each year, about
The following table shows the
|SEER stage||5-year relative survival rate|
|Localized: Cancer has not spread outside of the liver.||36%|
|Regional: Cancer has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes.||13%|
|Distant: Cancer has spread to far away parts of the body.||3%|
|All SEER stages combined||21%|
A 5-year relative survival rate is a broad estimate of how likely a person is to survive based on the stage of their cancer. This rate does not take into account several factors, including a person’s overall health and age, that can affect their likelihood of survival.
A person with liver cancer should ask a doctor about their individual outlook, based on personal factors, such as their age and the stage of their cancer.
Liver cancer causes similar symptoms in females and males. Symptoms for liver cancer are not specific and are often the result of other conditions that affect the liver. Typically, a person does not experience any symptoms in the earlier stages of liver cancer.
A person should speak with a doctor if they experience any symptoms of liver cancer to determine the underlying cause, which may be another condition.
People with certain health conditions, such as hepatitis B and cirrhosis, are more likely to develop liver cancer. Similarly, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol may increase a person’s risk.
Doctors may recommend several treatments for liver cancer, including medications, surgeries, and other therapies.
The overall 5-year relative survival rate for people with liver cancer is low. However, each individual is different, and a person should speak with a doctor about their personal outlook.