Signs and symptoms of liver cancer at differentstages, causes and precipitating factors of its development

Update: December 2018

Liver cancer is a serious illness that can lead to death.
the patient in just a few months of its development. With early
diagnosis and adequate drug therapy can be increased
period of the patient’s life and even completely rid him of his pathology (in
including methods of modern transplantology and surgery). Than
the earlier the liver disease is revealed, the greater the chance for the patient to

Disease classification

There are two types of liver cancer in their origin:

  • Primary cancer. The growth of abnormal cells starts from
    own liver tissue. Most often malignant cells
    are formed from normal liver cells (hepatocytocyllumal carcinoma),
    from the bile duct tissue (cholangiocarcinoma), vessels that feed
    liver tissue (angiosarcoma) or immature cells (hepatoblastoma).
    Primary liver cancer accounts for up to 3% of all
    diagnosed cancers of the liver.
  • Secondary cancer (metastatic). Developed as a result
    germination metastasis of malignant tumors from other organs
    in the liver tissue. Doctors diagnose it most often.

Over a third of cancer cases of various human organs
lead to metastasis in the liver.

Causes of disease

Based on the classification of liver cancer, the causes of development
diseases can serve two groups of factors:

  • Metastases spread by cancer
    other organs.
  • External and internal effects resulting in changes
    own liver cells.

External and internal factors

As a cause of cancer, doctors call:

Liver disease

The most common cause of liver cancer is
hepatitis, especially its long-term carrier state (wears asymptomatic
character, therefore difficult to diagnose and most often not treated
see chronic hepatitis, treatment of hepatitis C). Most often so
young people who actively use the disease suffer
injecting drugs, and leading active
promiscuous intimate life. The risk of infection is anyone
at non-observance of safety precautions, asepsis and antiseptics at
contact with blood (during various medical procedures, see how
Hepatitis C is transmitted.

The disease gradually progresses and subsequently outgrows
in cirrhosis of the liver, which leads to a more serious pathology –
tumors in the tissues of this organ. The course of such diseases affects
genetic material of liver cells, disturbed mechanisms
reading and reproducing DNA, altered cells cannot properly
function and, being mutated, are transformed into

  • With cholelithiasis (especially with active movement
    stones and sand) bile is heavily injured
    ducts. Subsequently, their inflammation provokes a mutation of cells in
    malignant (see gallbladder disease, gallstones
  • Syphilitic tissue damage can lead to the same
    effect (see symptoms and treatment of syphilis)

Detail on all liver diseases and their symptoms, yellow
raid on the tongue.

Long-term exposure to toxic substances, toxins

  • These structures are often alcohol, harmful and
    occupational carcinogens
  • The cause of liver cancer can be a banal failure to comply with the rules.
    safety at the enterprise (disregard of the respirator,
    gas mask). All toxins primarily affect health.
    liver (it acts as a filter of the body, neutralizing
    their). Toxic agents and their decay products are deposited in tissues
    organ, gradually destroying it.
  • Often, as a factor leading to the development of liver cancer,
    stand out ordinary food. Most often they are produced with
    violation of technology (abuse of pesticides, mineral
    fertilizers) or are genetically modified (mechanism
    their effects on the body are not well understood). Man may not
    suspect the “time bomb” at ease.

It has been proven that mold fungi secrete aflatoxins in the process
their livelihoods, they are strong poisons
substances (see harm to tea bags). Man, of course, not
will eat moldy foods (cereals, bread,
nuts), but they may be present in animal feed. In the following
in large quantities they are found in meat.

Helminth infestation

Pathological changes in liver cells may be due to
trematode parasites (parasites belonging to the class of flat
worms). Source of infection may not be enough
temperature-treated fish products. Their place
parasitizing often become bile ducts where occurs
their food is bile and blood. Biological products
life activity of trematodes (schistosomes, opistorchus and others)
provoke an inflammatory reaction, the long course of which
leads to cell mutation and the formation of malignant cells (see
signs of worms in humans).

Excess iron (hemochromatosis)

A person himself can provoke liver cancer, independently
deciding whether you need vitamins and
mineral substances. Harmless at first glance drugs (and even
Supplements), rich in iron and taken without a doctor’s prescription (with
normal iron content in the body) can cause disease
(see harm of synthetic vitamins).

Oral contraceptives

Contraceptive pills contain estrogen in excess, which
provokes the formation of benign tumors (see for and against
taking oral contraceptives). Often the location of such
cells is determined by the liver, subsequently they are converted into


Any medicine, even most medicinal plants
load the liver, and drugs like antibiotics and some
plants (containing small doses of toxic substances) generally possess
hepatotoxic action. Therefore, the less drugs a person has
consumes, the healthier his liver and the lower the risks of its development
diseases, including oncological degeneration.

Hereditary predisposition

Scientists note that the risk of malignant tumors
the liver is higher in people whose relatives suffered this
disease. The mechanisms of inheritance are not fully understood.

  • All men are at risk of developing liver cancer.
    It is noted that in men the disease is more common than in women.
    Often this is due to the overuse of the strong half.
    human steroids (means to increase muscle mass
  • Doctors suggest that the chance to get a malignant tumor
    liver increases in people with diabetes.

Interesting! People drinking a couple of cups less coffee a day
prone to liver cancer. Coffee must be natural in the beans
(ground). Read also about medications for the liver.

Stages and symptoms of primary cancer

There are four main stages of liver cancer, the symptoms of each
they depend on associated diseases of the organ (cirrhosis, hepatitis,
gallstone disease).

First stage

The tumor was formed recently, it does not exceed the size
a quarter of the liver, there are no lesions of the vessels and surrounding
tissues. Often, the first signs of liver cancer are blamed on others.
diseases (manifestations are not specific) or
do not notice their presence at all. The performance of the body is not
going down. Symptoms of the first stage:

  • Low performance
  • Weakness
  • Rapid mental and physical fatigue

It is difficult to diagnose the disease at an early stage, mainly
cancer is detected by a non-liver test.
Therefore, people at risk (occupational hazard, cirrhosis
liver, hepatitis, diabetes, alcohol and drugs
addiction), it is necessary at least once a year to go full

Second stage

In the absence of treatment and the action of provoking factors
fast enough, the tumor grows and spreads to
blood vessels. The size of the abnormal formation does not exceed
five centimeters.

The patient observes an increase in the symptoms of the first stage and the appearance
constantly feeling of heaviness or pain in the stomach (aching or dull).
The pain is localized in the right hypochondrium upper region
abdominal discomfort is often noted in
lumbar region (see pain in right hypochondrium). Pain syndrome
initially noted only during exercise and has
episodic, with increasing education
is present almost constantly, has a moderate

Liver cancer manifestations can result in frustration.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent and loose stools (diarrhea)
  • Increased flatulence (flatulence, bloating)
  • Reduced appetite

Diarrheal phenomena leads to significant weight loss
patient in just a few weeks. In half of the patients
there is a response to toxins produced by the tumor – an increase
temperatures to subfebrile numbers (it rarely rises above 38

Third stage

The tumor grows, its size exceeds 5 cm, often
there are several foci of pathological cells. It is on this
stage most often, liver cancer is detected because its
signs and symptoms are pronounced. Accepted
additionally distinguish three stages that differ in their distribution

  • 3A – cancer cells affect the veins (hepatic or
  • 3B – tumor cells grow together with organs surrounding
    the liver (only the bladder is unaffected), or they
    fuse with the outer part of the liver (its shell).
  • 3C – cancer reaches the lymph nodes, the most
    close to the liver. The effect of pathogenic
    education on perihepatic organs.

Symptoms of liver cancer in the third stage clearly
are visualized, including by the patient:

  • Enlarged liver – this is noticeable during palpation, often a doctor
    notes significant seals (it is often painful) liver
    hilly, acquires the density of a tree. The patient himself may also
    determine the increase in the volume of the abdomen, localized in the upper
    right side of it.
  • Feeling of bursting – occurs as a result of an increase
    cancer education.
  • Edema – occur as a result of violations of the outflow of fluid
    due to compression of blood vessels.
  • Jaundice – can occur periodically, has a mechanical
    origin – decreases the throughput of biliary
    ducts (see jaundice symptoms).
  • Nosebleeds – may also indicate
    liver failure.
  • Ascites – free fluid is noted in the peritoneal cavity.
  • Liver failure.
  • Intra-abdominal bleeding – arises due to an increase in
    fragility of blood vessels, subsequently leads to shock.
  • Endocrine Disorders – Cancer Produces
    hormone-like substances that change the ratio of hormones. it
    provokes the suspension of certain bodies
    endocrine system.
  • Cutaneous telangiectasia – expressed as the expansion of small
    vessels are not accompanied by inflammation (vascular mesh,
    spider veins).

There is also a general deterioration, increased pain,
dyspeptic syndrome.

Fourth stage

At a late stage, there is a proliferation of metastases in all
organs and systems of the patient’s body (they are distributed through
blood flow). At this stage it is impossible to cure a person, doctors can
briefly alleviate his condition, support the work of the organs.
Often the life expectancy of such patients is from
several months to several years.

Liver cancer stage 4 with metastases manifests itself in strengthening all
signs of earlier stages. In parallel, the symptoms increase
lesions of other organs in which malignant lesions appeared

Features of the course of secondary cancer

Most often, metastases appear in the liver as a result of a lesion.
organs located in its immediate vicinity
(pancreas). Perhaps their spread from foci of cancer
from the colorectal region, gastrointestinal tract organs, mammary glands, etc.
Symptoms of liver cancer are usually less of a concern for patients, in
compared with the primary disease of other organs,
located at 4 stages of flow. But as the disease progresses, they
acquire a more pronounced picture (as in primary cancer


Tool free inspection

For patient complaints, palpation is applied (palpation
fingers and percussion (tapping with fingers) during such
Research studies the structure and size of the liver.

Blood and urine tests

There is an increase in blood levels of bilirubin,
urine tests show the presence of urobilin (see transcript
biochemical analysis of blood). Such changes may indicate
pathology of the body and a violation of its work. Specific
The study is to determine the level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
in blood. Its increase is due to an increase in the number of immature
liver cells.


Dimensions may be noticed on the monitor.
liver, its structure and density. Often the doctor sees herself
malignant education.

CT scan

It is used to clarify the diagnosis. Can be used
special contrast agent (administered intravenously),
allowing to examine in more detail the structure of the organ and
the location of the vessels. Perhaps CT without using
contrast agent.

Magnetic resonance imaging

The most effective, currently, way to
to diagnose the liver of the patient. Lets you study the organ with
different angles.


The study of suspicious tissues for malignant
education. For analysis, you need to get a small part of the fabric,
in doubt by the doctor. For these purposes, puncture is performed.
abdominal special needle under ultrasound control.


Special incisions are introduced through small incisions in the peritoneum.
micro tools that allow you to inspect a diseased organ and
simultaneously take suspicious tissues for later
studies on malignancy.

Other techniques

You can see the pathology of the liver in her study
X-rays or radioisotope scanning.


In the early stages of the disease, it is possible to use special
drugs that contribute to the death of cancer cells (due to violation of
their food) or to suspend their development, removal is applied
parts of the liver or its complete removal with subsequent replacement by
donor organ.

Scientists have made a breakthrough in the diagnosis of cancer
formations in the liver. With a contrast study using MRI
the coloring agent was quickly neutralized by the body due to the specifics of its
functions, therefore, it was only possible to detect tumors whose size
exceeded 1 cm. A new substance is being applied.
allowing to diagnose malignant neoplasm size
0.25 mm in diameter. it настоящий прорыв, позволяющий провести
gentle treatment of the patient and completely rid him of cancer
the liver.

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