Living with Liver Cancer

Liver cancer begins in the liver and is often referred to as "primary liver cancer." This is distinguishable from "metastatic liver cancer," which spreads to the liver from elsewhere in the body and is usually named for its source. The majority of liver cancers develop in cells that filter toxins from the blood, though it may also form in the cells that line the bile ducts. Less than 30,000 new cases of liver cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. Liver cancer survival rates vary widely depending on stage of discovery and type of treatment.

Liver cancer is most common in adults over the age of 60, and men are three times more susceptible than women. Advanced stage liver cancer symptoms include: loss of appetite; fatigue; nausea; and pain, swelling, or a lump in the upper abdomen. The most common risk factors for liver cancer are hepatitis infection and heavy alcohol consumption. The stages of liver cancer range from I to IV, depending tumor size and how widely it may have spread. Liver cancer treatments include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these.

For more information on liver cancer, read the American Cancer Society's detailed guide.

If you have been affected by liver cancer, please be sure to take some time to read others' experiences, share your own experiences, and ask or answer questions. Don't forget to view our Beginner's Guide to Cancer.

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