Liver cancer or hepatic cancer (from the Greek hēpar, meaning liver) is a cancer that originates in the liver. Liver cancers are malignant tumors that grow on the surface or inside the liver. Liver tumors are discovered on medical imaging equipment (often by accident) or present themselves symptomatically as an abdominal mass, abdominal pain, jaundice, nausea or liver dysfunction. Liver cancers should not be confused with livermetastases, which are cancers that originate from organs elsewhere in the body and migrate to the liver.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is cancer of the liver.
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsHepatocellular carcinoma accounts for most liver cancers. This type of cancer occurs more often in men than women. It is usually seen in people age 50 or older. However, the age varies in different parts of the world. The disease is more common in parts of Africa and Asia than in North or South America and Europe. Hepatocellular carcinoma is not the same as metastatic liver cancer, which starts in another organ (such as the breast or colon) and spreads to the liver. In most cases, the cause of liver cancer is usually scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). Cirrhosis may be caused by: Alcohol abuse (the most common cause in the United States) Autoimmune diseases of the liver
Hepatitis B or C virus infection
Inflammation of the liver that is long-term (chronic)
Iron overload in the body (hemochromatosis)
Patients with hepatitis B or C are at risk for liver cancer, even if they have not developed cirrhosis
Symptoms Abdominal pain or tenderness, especially in the upper-right part Easy bruising or bleeding
Yellow skin or eyes (jaundice)
Signs and testsPhysical examination may show an enlarged, tender liver. Tests include:
Abdominal CT scan
Liver enzymes (liver function tests)
Serum alpha fetoprotein
Some high-risk patients may get...
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