Liver Cancer



Cancer that originates in the liver is known as liver cancer, hepatic cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma (from the Greek hēpar, meaning liver). 


  • Primary liver cancer - Cancer that begins in the tissue of the liver, an organ in the digestive system.
  • Secondary liver cancer - Cancer from the colon, lung, breast or other parts of the body spreads to the liver.
  • Non-cancerous (benign) tumors -  Tumors may also form in the liver.


Often, liver cancer symptoms do not occur until late stages. Some symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the abdomen, particularly in the upper right side, that may also be in back and shoulder.
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Loss of appetite and weight.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Weakness and tiredness.
  • Yellow coloring of the skin, whites of your eyes and dark urine (jaundice).
  • Fever.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a MemorialCare Physician partner.

Risk Factors & Prevention

You are at a greater risk for liver cancer risk if you:

  • Are male.
  • Are over the age of 40 years.
  • Are African American, Asian or Polynesian.
  • Suffer from certain types of liver diseases, such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) or cirrhosis.
  • Are exposed to aflatoxins – a mold found in food such as peanuts, corn and soybeans.
  • Are Diabetic.

The causes for liver cancer are unknown. By avoiding hepatitis infections, moldy grains, limiting alcohol use and not smoking you can help reduce your risk for liver cancer.