Cancer experts said that these signs often show up when the liver is damaged, but it is easy to confuse with other common diseases, so many people subjectively ignore it.
Otis Brawley, former director of the American Cancer Society, said liver cancer was a relatively rare disease in the past. However, since 1990, the incidence of this disease has doubled and has increased rapidly in recent years. This monstrous disease often has no obvious symptoms until the disease develops at a later stage. So getting regular checkups could be the key to prolonging your life.
“If someone goes for regular screenings and shows signs of cancer, we can cure it,” said Ghassan Abou-Alfa, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the US. However, by the time they have specific symptoms, the disease may have already advanced and spread beyond the liver.”
Dr. Ghassan Abou-Alfa also points out 5 silent signs of liver cancer, which, if detected early, can save your life:
1. Abdominal pain and unusual swelling
Dr. Brawley says that most people with liver cancer experience pain in the upper right abdomen. Besides, an enlarged abdomen is one of the most typical signs of liver cancer that people need to be aware of.
“When I see a patient with liver cancer but no symptoms, I will press on their liver, and they will feel a lot of pain,” Dr. Brawley said.
However, he also said that in fact, pain in that area is not necessarily a sign of liver cancer – it could also be caused by a hepatitis infection or problems with the gallbladder or pancreas. Therefore, patients need to regularly monitor and observe the abdomen and quickly go to the hospital for the most accurate diagnosis of the cause.
2. Loss of appetite and unusual weight loss
According to Dr. Brawley, weight loss and loss of appetite are common symptoms of many different illnesses. However, if this phenomenon occurs abnormally and lasts, you should see a doctor immediately because it is most likely a sign of liver cancer knocking on the door. When liver cancer resides in the body, it will reduce liver function, cause liver damage and affect the digestive system, thereby reducing the ability to absorb nutrients.
Therefore, if you are having typical signs of digestive disorders such as loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, you should see a doctor immediately to find out the cause.
3. Feel full quickly when eating
Abou-Alfa, excess fluid in the abdomen can make you feel full faster than usual. Cancer always makes you lose your appetite and indigestion problems like belching or nausea are also common. However, the doctor also said that this is also a symptom of many other non-cancerous conditions, so it is necessary to go to the doctor regularly or get checked out as soon as you feel that there is something wrong with your body.
4. Eyes or skin turns yellow
Dr. Abou-Alfa said symptoms of jaundice on the body could be a sign of liver cancer. “If you’re itchy and have jaundice, it’s not a sign to be taken lightly. Jaundice is also a symptom of other cancers including pancreatic and gallbladder cancers,” he said, it can also be caused by noncancerous conditions such as viral infections (such as hepatitis A), alcohol use, or other disorders.”
5. Have had hepatitis C, hepatitis B before
Dr Abou-Alfa said people with a history of hepatitis C can develop liver cancer 10 years after being diagnosed and that prompt treatment for hepatitis C can help prevent cancer. Besides, the doctor also pointed out that a person infected with the hepatitis B virus or not vaccinated against hepatitis B can also increase the risk of cancer.
“Anyone with hepatitis should be monitored by a doctor for some form. Others should have an ultrasound at least once a year to screen for cancer,” says Dr. Abou-Alfa.