What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer?


People with early-stage liver cancer usually do not have any symptoms, or their symptoms are similar to those of other medical conditions. Liver cancer can cause any of the signs and symptoms listed below.

  • Appetite - People with liver cancer may experience a continuous loss of appetite or feel very full after a small meal.
  • Enlarged breasts in men
  • Enlarged spleen or liver - A hard lump can be felt in the upper left (for enlarged spleen) or right (for enlarged liver) side of the abdomen (area between the chest and hips).
  • Enlarged veins - The veins are visible through the skin.
  • Fever - Unexplained fevers, especially in people with cirrhosis, can be a sign of liver cancer.
  • High blood calcium levels - This can cause weakness or problems with the muscles.
  • Itching
  • Jaundice - Yellow skin and eyes and dark urine are symptoms of jaundice, which can mean that the liver is not working properly.
    Low blood sugar levels - Low levels of blood sugar can make you feel tired or faint.
  • Malaise - People with liver cancer sometimes feel sluggish and tired.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain - Continuous pain in the upper right side of the abdomen is the most common symptom of liver cancer. The pain may also spread to the back and shoulder.
  • Swelling - Swelling, bloating, or buildup of fluid (ascites) in the abdomen can be a symptom of liver cancer.
  • Upset or gas-filled stomach
  • Weakness - People with liver cancer may have weakness in their arms and legs or fatigue.
  • Weight loss - Unexplained or unplanned weight loss can be a symptom of liver cancer.
  • Worsened hepatitis or cirrhosis symptoms - More severe symptoms in people who have chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis are signs of liver cancer. These symptoms could include fluid in the abdomen, a symptom known as ascites, or the need for more and more water tablets (diuretics) to control the amount of fluid in the abdomen. Other liver cancer symptoms in people with hepatitis or cirrhosis include mental confusion (hepatic encephalopathy) and bleeding from the esophagus or stomach.

This content has been reviewed and approved by Myo Thant, MD.

This content was last reviewed August 15, 2010 by Dr. Reshma L. Mahtani.
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