Liver Cancer

The liver sits in the upper right portion of the abdomen, above the stomach and below the diaphragm. Liver cancer occurs when cells in this area start to grow out of control. 

Risk Factors & Symptoms

Several factors increase the risk of developing liver cancer, particularly recurring infection from hepatitis viruses. Other risk factors include:

  • Hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus
  • Inherited liver diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Exposure to aflatoxin
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Polycystic liver disease
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • HIV infection
  • Exposure to certain chemicals

Some common symptoms of liver cancer include:

  • Fever
  • Dark urine
  • Itching
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Jaundice (yellow color to skin and eyes)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in upper abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Screening & Diagnosis

If you experience the symptoms above, your doctor may order tests or procedures to make a diagnosis. Some of the tools your doctor may use to diagnose liver cancer include:

  • Blood tests
  • Liver biopsy
  • Imaging, including MRI, CT, or ultrasound

Treatment & Surgery

Your course of treatment depends on many factors, including your age and general health. Some of the treatments we provide for liver cancer patients include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Partial hepatectomy or liver resection
  • Liver transplant

The multidisciplinary team at CHI St. Luke’s Health works with patients to recommend what treatment options are best for each individual case and each individual person. Talk to your physician for more information.