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Usually, signs and symptoms allow doctors to discover a disease or illness before it is too late. However with liver cancer, that may not be the case.

It is extremely difficult to detect whether or not an individual has liver cancer based on symptoms. Screening is highly recommended, which has the possibility to catch the disease before it develops. Those who have certain risk factors such as hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver have a higher chance of being diagnosed with liver cancer.

The following are specific symptoms an individual could encounter if the cancer has grown a substantial amount:

  • Jaundice—this is a medical condition with yellowing of the skin or eyes usually caused by an obstruction of the bile duct, liver disease or excessive breakdown of red blood cells
  • Abnormal liver enzymes – cancer cells can disrupt normal liver function and cause damage to the liver. This can cause certain lab tests to be elevated and should signal your physician that more of a workup is needed.
  • Upper right quadrant pain/fullness – as a cancer grows in the liver, it can cause the liver to expand in size. This can irritate the protective covering of the liver, which is called the capsule.  This can create the sensation of pain or fullness on the right side of the abdomen.

October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month which encourages people to educate themselves on this dangerous disease. If the symptoms above are present, a visit to the doctor for further testing should be considered.