Symptoms & Diagnosis

Liver cancer is of two types:

  1. Primary Cancer: The cancer which starts from the liver to the other parts of the body.
  2. Secondary Cancer: The cancer which starts from the other parts of the body and reaches the liver.


Liver cancer has no primary symptoms. However, in later stages liver cancer can cause upper abdomen and back pain. Other later stage symptoms includes loss of appetite, weakness and loss of weight, nausea, fever and jaundice, Commonly seen symptom is swelling of abdomen.   Liver cancer is caused by the following reasons:

Scarring of liver from alcohol
Long term infection of hepatitis virus- hepatitis B,C, or D
Addiction of smoking
Patients suffering from diabetes


Blood tests – to check your general health and check for a chemical usually found in increased levels in people with primary liver cancer.

Ultrasound – a picture of the liver is taken using sound waves.

CT scan – a specialised x-ray taken from many different angles of the abdomen.

MRI scan  – similar to a CT scan, but uses a powerful magnet and magnetic field instead of x-rays to build an image of the body.

Liver biopsy – a small piece of liver tissue is removed with a needle and examined for cancer cells.

Laparoscopy – a small cut in the lower abdomen is made and this allows a thin mini-telescope (laparoscope) to be inserted to look at the liver and take a sample of liver tissue.

Treatment and Recovery:

Two types of surgeries are done in this case:

  1. Hepatectomy: Here a portion of the liver is removed. This surgery is done only when the cancer is in one part of the liver and the liver is not working well.
  2. Liver transplantation: Liver transplantation is done only if the cancer has not spread outside the liver. A suitable donor is found which should meet the specific criteria. Liver transplantation is more effective for the patient having small tumor.


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