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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.

Locations Treating Liver Cancer