This Is What Liver Cancer Looks Like, Doctors Say – Eat This, Not That

According to the CDC, liver cancer kills 18,600 men and 9,000 women in the United States each year. Although the early stages of liver cancer usually have few symptoms, there are some warning signs of liver cancer that you should never ignore. “In its early stages, liver cancer may have no visible or felt symptoms. However, as the cancer grows, people may notice one or more of these common symptoms. It is important to remember that these symptoms can also be caused by other health conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor,” explains the CDC. Read on and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.

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“Because the liver plays such a key role in the digestive system, cirrhosis and liver cancer can both cause you to lose your appetite and cause you to lose weight,” explains the NSW Cancer Council. “Chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments can also have an impact, especially if you experience side effects such as nausea and vomiting, mouth ulcers and changes in taste and smell.”

Patient with jaundice with yellowish discoloration of the skin compared to normal skin color.
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Jaundice is yellowing of the skin and eyes resulting from excess bilirubin in the blood, due to obstruction of the bile ducts connecting the pancreas to the liver. “It’s one of the first symptoms a patient may notice,” says Jason A. Castellanos, MD, MS, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center. “The bottom line is that identifying the cause of jaundice early is crucial.”

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woman in jeans jacket and pants itchy arm
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Itchy skin – or pruritus – is often linked to jaundice and a common symptom of liver cancer. “Pruritus is a common comorbidity in chronic liver disease and kidney disease,” according to an article published in the journal Scientific reports. “These patients frequently complain of pruritus despite the absence of rash or skin signs. Patients with chronic liver disease develop systemic itching that significantly impairs activity and sleep. Often this is not not relieved by scratching the itchy areas of the skin. Patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) frequently experience pruritus in chronic liver disease.”

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young woman with nausea in denim outfit sitting on the bed
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Nausea is frequently linked to liver cancer, usually in association with other symptoms. “Symptoms of liver cancer may differ slightly, depending on the type of tumor you have,” explains Stanford Healthcare. “Please remember that other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to see an experienced doctor for an accurate diagnosis.”

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Young woman suffering from pain in bedroom
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Abdominal pain – or constant right shoulder pain – could be a symptom of liver cancer. “You should never ignore liver pain,” warns Carolina Digestive Health Associates. “It’s not something that has a benign cause, like stomach cramps when you have the stomach flu or a headache when you have a cold. If you have distinct pain in the liver area, you should see a doctor immediately.”

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If you have any or all of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider as soon as possible to rule out any potential problems. Also, in general, the CDC says:

  • “Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount you drink. For women, that means no more than one drink a day. For men, that means no more than two drinks a day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight is healthy, try to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and increase the amount of exercise you do. Try to lose weight slowly – 1 or 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) every week.”

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