Liver Cancer : Symptoms, Signs and Causes

In the early stages, liver cancer may not have any symptoms. The symptoms start becoming apparent as the disease progresses into advanced stages. Also, the exact cause of liver cancer is still unknown. Taking appropriate measures to improve and protect liver health and opting for regular health check-ups can help protect oneself against liver cancer.

Who is Mainly Affected by Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer may develop in any individual, and the exact reasons for liver cancer remain unknown. However, there is an increased risk of developing liver cancer in certain groups of people. Men are found to have a relatively higher risk of developing liver cancer than women. Those with underlying liver conditions, like liver cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis, also have a higher risk of developing liver cancer. In addition, heavy alcohol drinkers, especially those with liver diseases, have a higher risk for liver cancer.

What are the Common Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer?

The liver has a myriad of functions in the human body, and when it is affected by cancer, it may cause various symptoms. The following are some of the important liver cancer symptoms:

Liver Cancer Types & Their Symptoms

The symptoms of different types of liver cancer are:

What Causes Liver Cancer?

Studies have identified multiple factors as possible liver cancer reasons or risk factors. It is important to note that having any of these risk factors does not guarantee a liver cancer diagnosis; however, it does mean one has a higher chance of developing liver cancer.

Liver cancer symptoms in females are similar to liver cancer symptoms in males. Some of the possible liver cancer causes or risk factors include:

When to See a Hepatologist?

People should visit the hepatologists if they experience yellowing of the skin and eyes, indigestion, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, and generalized weakness and fatigue.


Most patients do not experience early-stage liver cancer symptoms. Symptoms, if present, may overlap with other common conditions. Liver cancer causes include obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol intake, and underlying hepatic conditions. Learning about the different symptoms of liver cancer and the possible causes associated with this disease can help one seek medical attention at the right time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Liver cancer initiates due to genetic mutations in the liver cells. The cause of the genetic mutation is not known. However, infection, chronic inflammation, scarring, smoking, and heavy alcohol intake may play a role in increasing the risk of liver cancer.

Patients with liver cancer have persistent and chronic pain in the upper abdomen (on the right side), shoulder, and back as early signs of liver cancer.

Most patients do not experience any early symptoms of liver cancer. As the disease progresses, one may start experiencing symptoms like abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, pale stools, tiredness, weight loss, etc.

Most patients with stage 1 liver cancer may not have liver cancer symptoms. If present, they vary greatly from patient to patient. Stage 4 liver cancer symptoms, or end-stage liver cancer symptoms, include abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, jaundice, and severe skin itching.

There are no known ways to prevent liver cancer. However, risk can be mitigated by taking good care of the liver, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and managing weight.

Some forms of liver cancer are more aggressive than others and rapidly progress to present as liver cancer with last-stage symptoms. These include bile duct cancer and hepatic angiosarcoma.