Liver Cancer Overview

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Signs and symptoms of liver cancer

Most of the time liver cancer does not cause symptoms in its early stages. The symptoms below could be caused by liver cancer, but they can also be caused by other cancers or conditions. Still, if you have any of these problems, see a doctor right away.

  • Weight loss (when you're not trying to lose weight)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling very full after a small meal
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • A swollen liver or a mass that can be felt under the ribs on the right side
  • A swollen spleen, felt as a mass under the ribs on the left side
  • Pain in the belly (abdomen) or near the right shoulder blade
  • Swelling in your belly
  • Itching
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Swollen veins on the belly that can be seen through the skin
  • Becoming sicker if you have chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis

Some liver tumors make hormones that act on organs other than the liver. These hormones may cause:

  • High blood calcium levels that can cause nausea, confusion, constipation, weakness, or muscle problems
  • Low blood sugar levels, which can make you feel very tired or faint
  • Breast enlargement and/or shrinking of the testicles in men
  • High counts of red blood cells which can cause someone to look red and flushed
  • High cholesterol levels

These findings may cause doctors to suspect a disease of the nervous system or other problems, rather than liver cancer.


Last Medical Review: 11/19/2014
Last Revised: 12/09/2014