They say ignorance is bliss, unless you’re facing liver cancer. The truth is ignoring warning signs and symptoms will only do more harm than good. In patients, there are certain risk factors that make them more prone to being at risk for liver cancer. This includes:
• Chronic Hepatitis B or C
• Elevated Iron Levels
• History of Alcohol Abuse
Certain groups are also more likely than others. This includes those who are Asian or Hispanic, have a family history of the disease, and males who are age 55 or older.
When a person looks for signs of liver cancer, it is important to note that most of the time, there are no symptoms at first. You may experience some swelling in the liver. It isn’t until the liver cancer tumor grows that you experience pain in the abdomen, typically in the right side. There might be a sense of fullness quickly when eating, and you might begin to lose some weight. As the cancer spreads and worsens, you’ll experience jaundice, decreased appetite, swelling, and often wasting in the final stages.
Before liver cancer progresses this far, it is best to have an ultrasound done on the liver. Every six months those who are at a higher risk for this form of cancer should be inspected to boost the chance of survival. Additional tumor markers like the alfa-fetoprotein can help to determine if cancer is present. A biopsy of the liver may further inform your physician about whether any growth is benign or malignant.