Medical professional articulating a 3d model of a liver showing a cross section removed
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 25, 2024 ·  4 min read

Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer Everyone Should Know

Liver cancer is a serious health condition that affects thousands of individuals each year. It is essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with liver cancer, as early detection can significantly improve treatment outcomes. These are the signs and symptoms of liver cancer that everyone should be familiar with.

Understanding Liver Cancer

Liver cancer or liver tumor, Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), causes, symptoms, treatments, 3d illustration
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Liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is a type of cancer that originates in the liver cells. The liver plays a vital role in various bodily functions, including digestion, metabolism, and detoxification. When cancer cells begin to grow uncontrollably in the liver, it can affect your health in a big way. (1)

Read More: Is Poor Liver Function Making You Gain Weight?

Signs and Symptoms

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As with any cancer, knowing the signs and symptoms is your best line of defense. Being aware of the signs of liver cancer allows you to seek help and get a diagnosis earlier. Early diagnosis drastically improves outcomes. These are some of the most common signs and symptoms of liver cancer to be aware of (2):

1. A lump on your Abdomen

abdominal swelling, cramps, and pains in the premenstrual syndrome and during menstruation
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One of the most apparent signs of liver cancer is the presence of a lump or mass in the upper abdomen. Specifically, a lump or mass on the right side of your abdomen under your rib cage or on the left side of your body in the case that your spleen enlarges. These lumps are often painless but should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

2. Pain

Cropped of black woman suffering from gastritis, touching her tummy
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In particular, any discomfort or aching in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen or near the right shoulder blade. Liver cancer can cause discomfort or aching in the upper abdomen or around the right shoulder blade. These symptoms may worsen with movement or deep breathing.

3. Loss of appetite

Depressed man at the table suffering from lack of appetite
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Individuals with liver cancer often experience a sudden loss of appetite. This can be accompanied by a decreased interest in food or a feeling of fullness even after eating a small amount.

4. Unintentional weight loss

Female Experience Unintentional Weight Loss Can Be A Symptom Of Diabetes, Indicating Inadequate Insulin Production Or Utilization By Body, Leading To Increased Breakdown Of Fat And Muscle For Energy
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Liver cancer can lead to unintended weight loss. This weight loss is significant and occurs without any changes in diet or physical activity. As always, it is important to note that sudden, rapid weight loss without making any changes to your diet or lifestyle is not a good thing.

Read More: B vitamins could help treat severe nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

5. Nausea and vomiting

A young African American man is not feeling well. Sits at home on the couch, holds his stomach with his hand, covers his mouth with his hand, wants to vomit, feels nausea and severe pain.
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As liver cancer progresses, individuals may experience persistent nausea or vomiting. This is often accompanied by a general feeling of fatigue and weakness.

6. Jaundice

Jaundice disease vector concept illustration
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Jaundice is a common symptom of liver cancer. It is characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes due to a build-up of bilirubin in the body. Other associated symptoms may include dark urine and pale-colored stools.

7. Fever

Illness tired woman touching forehead after using thermometer to checking body temperature and take medicine lying under blanket on bed. Sick female with cold lying in bed with high fever in bedroom.
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Liver cancer can cause a persistent low-grade fever. This may be accompanied by other flu-like symptoms such as body aches and fatigue.

8. Liver tumor symptoms

liver cancer
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In some cases, liver tumors release hormones that may harm organs besides just the liver. This can lead to additional symptoms. These symptoms can include high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia), high cholesterol levels, high red blood cell count (leukocytosis), low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), breast enlargement, and/or a decrease in the size of testicles. (3)

When to See a Doctor

The doctor examines a girl patient with fatty hepatosis and metabolic disorders in the liver, cirrhosis
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If you experience any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional. While these symptoms may not always indicate liver cancer, they may be indicative of other underlying health conditions that require timely medical evaluation and management. If it is liver cancer, why wait until there are more symptoms present and the disease has advanced? You are more likely to beat the cancer the earlier you start treatment.

Treatment Options

Liver inner organs disease treatment Modern process design concept with Tiny doctor Character people Vector Illustration
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The treatment options for liver cancer depend on various factors such as the stage of cancer, overall health, and individual preferences. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these approaches. It is essential to work closely with healthcare professionals to determine the best treatment plan for your specific situation. 

The Bottom Line

Concept photo of diagnosis and treatment of liver. In foreground is model of liver gallbladder near stethoscope on table in background blurred silhouette doctor at table, filling medical documentation
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Understanding the signs and symptoms of liver cancer is crucial for early detection and prompt treatment. If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly. Remember, early detection and intervention can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment outcomes. Regular screenings, healthy lifestyle habits, and ongoing communication with healthcare professionals can play a vital role in maintaining liver health and preventing liver cancer.

Read More: Liver Damage from Supplements is On the Rise, Scientists Say


  1. What Is Liver Cancer?National Cancer Institute
  2. What is liver cancer?Cancer Council
  3. Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer.” American Cancer Society