Your liver does a lot for you, like filter your blood and break down food. It’s one of your largest — and most important — organs. When you have liver cancer, some cells there grow out of control and form a tumor. That can affect how well your liver works.
Most people don’t notice any signs of liver cancer early on. When they do show up, you may:
- Feel full easily or not want to eat
- Have a lump below your right rib cage
- Feel pain on the upper right side of your belly or near your right shoulder
- Have an upset stomach
- Have swelling in your belly
- Feel tired and weak
- Lose weight
- Have white, chalky poop and dark pee
- Notice a yellowish color in your skin and the whites of your eyes
Certain diseases can make you more likely to get liver cancer, including:
- Long-term hepatitis B or C — viruses that attack and damage your liver
- Cirrhosis — liver damage that can make scar tissue replace healthy tissue
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease — a buildup of fat in your liver
- Liver diseases you’re born with, like hereditary hemochromatosis (when excess iron is stored in your liver and other organs)
Stages of Liver Cancer
These tell you how far your cancer has spread:
Stage I: One tumor that hasn’t spread anywhere else
Stage II: One tumor that’s spread into blood vessels, or more than one tumor, but all smaller than 2 inches
Stage III: One tumor that’s spread to major blood vessels or nearby organs, or more than one tumor and at least one of them is larger than 2 inches
Stage IV: The cancer has spread to other body parts.
You can lower your chances of getting liver cancer by:
- Get the hepatitis B vaccine.
- Stay a healthy weight through the food you eat and exercise.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink: up to one a day for women, two for men.
- Don’t use intravenous (IV) drugs — if you do, use clean needles.
- Get tattoos and piercings only at safe, clean shops.
- Practice safe sex.