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Liver Cancer: Symptoms

Liver cancer often does not cause symptoms in its early stages, when it's small and hasn't spread. In fact, many liver cancers don't cause symptoms until they have grown fairly large. 

People with liver cancer may have these symptoms:

  • Unplanned weight loss

  • Change in eating habits. This may be a sudden loss of appetite that lasts for a long time or feeling very full even after very small meals.

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • A lump or mass in the upper-right side of your belly (abdomen).  Your liver might become enlarged. This can sometimes be felt as a lump or mass under your right ribs.

  • Belly pain. Some people might also have pain at the right shoulder blade.

  • Abdominal swelling. This can be caused by fluid building up in your abdomen (called ascites). Some people may have enlarged veins on their belly, too.

  • Jaundice or itching. Yellowing of the whites of your eyes and skin (jaundice) is caused by the buildup of too much bilirubin in your blood. This is a chemical made by the liver. Too much of it can also cause severe itching.

  • Fever

  • Easy bleeding and bruising

  • Feeling very tired or weak

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms can be caused by other health problems. Still, it's important to see a healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have liver cancer.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Kimberly Stump-Sutliff RN MSN AOCNS
  • L Renee Watson MSN RN
  • Todd Gersten MD