Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is a cancer arising from the liver. It is also known as primary liver cancer or hepatoma. The liver is made up of different cell types (for example, bile ducts, blood vessels, and fat-storing cells). However, liver cells (hepatocytes) make up 80% of the liver tissue. Thus, the majority of primary liver cancers (over 90%-95%) arises from liver cells and is called hepatocellular cancer or carcinoma. When patients or physicians speak of liver cancer, however, they are often referring to cancer that has spread to the liver, having originated in other organs (such as the colon, stomach, pancreas, breast, and lung). More specifically, this type of liver cancer is called metastatic liver disease (cancer) or secondary liver cancer. This is a much more common problem around the world than primary liver cancer and frequently leads to confusion, because the term liver cancer actually can refer to either metastatic liver cancer or hepatocellular cancer.
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What are the Symptoms of Liver Cancer
Most of the time liver cancer in the early stages does not cause symptoms. If symptoms are present, they may include:
unexplained weight loss on-going lack of appetite fullness after a small meal a swollen liver or a mass that can be felt in the area of the liver ongoing stomach pain extending to the back and shoulder a swollen abdomen yellow-green color to the skin and eyes (jaundice) increased symptoms of illness in those who have chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis.
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