In cases of liver cancer, the key is to catch the disease as early as possible. Understanding the warning signs and symptoms will allow you to determine if you should seek medical evaluation for liver cancer. In order to catch potential liver cancer as soon as possible, here are some of the most common liver cancer symptoms to look for:
Losing weight without trying
If you were not trying to lose weight and suddenly can’t keep the pounds on, this is an indicator that you may have early stage liver cancer. Unintentional weight loss is often because of cancerous tumors stimulating a gene switch within the body, which in turn lowers blood fat levels. The result of lower blood fat levels is a difficulty maintaining weigh
Upper abdominal pain and swelling
Your liver itself may become enlarged due to a tumor growing on it. As a result, you may experience swelling or pain in your upper abdomen. You may start to see veins or discoloration on your abdomen. This pain, swelling and difference in appearance may be caused by the enlargement of the tumor. It may also be due to increased pressure to the liver, causing blood to back up in the veins and make the veins more visible.
If you have a sudden onset of tiredness, this may be caused by liver cancer. The tumors on the liver can make hormones that in turn impact other organs of the body. Examples include the lowering of blood sugar (hypoglycemia) which can cause increased fatigue as well as fainting or dizziness upon standing.
One of the more well-known symptoms of liver cancer is the sudden onset of Jaundice. which is typically characterized by the yellowing of the skin or sclera of the eyes. This change in pigmentation is caused by a buildup of bilirubin which is the result of liver cancer obstructing bile ducts from working properly.
White or chalky stools
A sudden change in bowel movements to appear white or chalky is an indication that you may need to get tested for liver cancer. The usual color of stool is caused by bile that is stored in the gallbladder after being produced by the liver. If the liver is unable to function properly because of liver cancer, it may result in a lack of bile, greatly changing bowel movements.
Nausea and vomiting
Possibly one of the most uncomfortable aspects of liver cancer is the digestive problems, including constant nausea and vomiting. This is caused by the hormones produced as a result of liver cancer. As blood sugar levels are affected, individuals will feel sick to their stomach. Symptoms like nausea make functioning with liver cancer difficult.
Liver cancer often has no symptoms in its earliest stages, but the above symptoms may begin to appear as the disease develops. The best ways to prevent liver cancer in the first place are to limit alcohol and tobacco use, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid certain carcinogenic chemicals such as vinyl chloride. If you are wondering how you can help those affected by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver cancer donations can be made at cancer.org.