Liver cancer begins in the cells of the liver, an organ that is found on the right side of your abdomen. More than one type of liver cancer is able to form, but the most common type forms in the liver cells. There are several health related risk factors and causes that can contribute to developing liver cancer, but this is not always the case.
Recognizing the early signs of liver cancer is important to treating the disease, so it is important to know the symptoms:
1. Nausea and vomiting
If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting along with other common symptoms this can be an early sign that something is wrong. The inability for the liver to filter properly leads to the buildup of certain minerals that can trigger the feeling of vomiting. Untreated, this symptom alone can cause extreme discomfort, pain, and even injury so you should report the symptom to a doctor immediately.
Jaundice is recognizable by the yellow color of the skin and eyes, caused when bilirubin levels in the blood are increased. The liver is responsible for managing levels of bilirubin in the blood but are unable to do so as cancer spreads.
3. Losing weight without trying
If you are experiencing weight loss without even changing your diet or introducing exercise to your daily routine there might be reason for concern. Two things to watch for include the loss of weight, but the loss of appetite as well, which leads to the weight loss.
4. White or chalky stools
Paying attention to your bowel movements is something most of us do not do, but it is a great indicator of what is going on with our bodies and health. If you are noticing the other symptoms of liver cancer, keep an eye on your stool. White, chalky stools is a clear sign that there is an issue with your liver function that can be a direct result of liver cancer. Bile should be produced by your liver, but when there is an issue and bile production isn’t normal your stool takes on a white and chalky appearance.
5. General fatigue
Fatigue and a general reduction in energy to get through the most basic and common of every day activities is one of the most common symptoms of liver cancer. Cancer generally causes fatigue in patients, but liver cancer is particularly known to cause a feeling of fatigue. Any type of disease of the liver is going to cause fatigue because of the inability of the liver to regulate many of the body’s systems.
6. Upper abdominal pain and swelling
Any type of liver disease, especially liver cancer, is going to cause swelling and pain. The liver is going to swell initially on account of the entire organ not functioning properly. As the cancer grows and spreads in the liver, it will swell even more and cause additional pain.