Liver cancer may not initially exhibit any obvious signs or symptoms. However, when a liver tumor develops over time, a patient could notice or feel it. Or a doctor might detect it when doing a checkup. Cancer may already be progressing and more challenging to treat at this time.
The symptoms of primary liver cancer, which begins in the liver, and secondary liver cancer, which starts elsewhere and progresses to the liver, are the same.
The following are examples of liver cancer symptoms or signs that may appear. Or, a medical disease other than cancer may be responsible for the symptom or sign’s occurrence.
Early warning symptoms of liver cancer
The symptoms of liver cancer vary from person to person, and any of these symptoms might be caused by another disorder. However, although symptoms of liver cancer tend to appear more frequently in advanced stages, some people do experience them earlier.
Common early warning symptoms for liver cancer
Here are a few common early warning indicators:
An abdominal lump or mass.
You can have an extremely hard bump or swelling on your right side, directly below your ribs. This mass is frequently asymptomatic, and if you have pain, you may experience additional pain in the areas surrounding the mass.
There may be discomfort or a lump in the left upper abdomen if liver cancer also results in spleen enlargement (splenomegaly).
Right-Sided Abdominal Pain.
The pressure of a liver tumor on nearby tissues or nerves may cause discomfort, pain, or aching on the right side of the abdomen below the ribs. Take a big breath in and gently touch upward beneath your right rib cage; this is about where your liver is located. The border of your liver may be detected lower in your belly if you have a larger liver.
Right shoulder-blade pain.
The problem that shoulder-blade discomfort is alerting you to may not even be close to the shoulder blade, making it a misleading sign (due to the way nerves travel in our bodies).
This is how it is with liver cancer. When the pain is coming from the liver instead of the shoulder blade, the tumor (or its spread) may irritate the nerves that provide the false signal to the brain. Though it can happen on either side, this discomfort is most commonly felt in the right shoulder. Your back can also experience discomfort.
Consult your healthcare physician if you feel this, especially if you haven’t recently engaged in any physical activity that may account for it.
Jaundice is a disorder where the skin and the whites of the eyes appear yellow. Bile salts accumulate in the skin, which is what causes it.
It is more easily recognized in natural light, such as when you are outside, than in artificial light. Some patients also remark that their bowel motions are white and pale rather than brown, in addition to a yellowing of the skin. In contrast, even without dehydration, urine may seem darker than usual.
Itching can also be brought on by the accumulation of bile salts in the skin that leads to jaundice. We don’t frequently consider itching to be a significant complaint, yet liver disease can cause quite severe itching.
Bloat and shortness of breath.
Ascites, a fluid accumulation in the abdomen, may be a sign of liver cancer. At first, it could seem like bloating, but some individuals notice that even if they haven’t put on weight, their clothing doesn’t fit well in the waist or that their belt size changes. With time, fluid accumulation in the belly may push up on the lungs, resulting in breathlessness.