What does the liver do?
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. The liver is divided into lobes and acts as a filter, cleansing the blood of harmful substances that are later passed out of the body as waste. The liver also makes bile, which helps digest fat, makes numerous proteins used by the body for many things, and stores glycogen (sugar), which provides the body with energy.
What are the risk factors for liver cancer?
- Other liver diseases, including hepatitis B or C (viral diseases that attack the liver) or cirrhosis (a disease that causes scarring)
- A family history of hepatitis or liver cancer (someone in your family has it)
- Gender (men are more likely to get liver cancer than women are)
What are the symptoms of liver cancer?
Early in the development of liver disease, there may be no symptoms at all. The following signs occur when the liver swells. (Please note: liver cancer is only one reason that livers can swell.)
- A lump below the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen
- Pain near the right shoulder or on the right side of the abdomen
- Jaundice (a disease that causes skin to yellow)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Dark-colored urine