Hepatocellular carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma is a cancer that starts in your liver.It's different from "secondary" liver cancers, which have spread to the liver from other organs


Many things can cause it:

  • Hepatitis B or C infection
  • Alcohol drinking
  • Certain drugs,
  • Too much iron stored in the liver.

Hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Hepatocellular cancer can start many years after you've had one of these liver infections. Both are passed through blood, such as when drug users share needles. Blood tests can show whether you have hepatitis B or C.

Cirrhosis: This serious disease happens when liver cells are damaged and replaced with scar tissue. Many things can cause it: hepatitis B or C infection, alcohol drinking, certain drugs, and too much iron stored in the liver.

Heavy drinking: Having more than two alcoholic drinks a day for many years raises your risk of hepatocellular cancer. The more you drink, the higher your risk.

Obesity and diabetes:Both conditions raise your risk of liver cancer. Obesity can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can lead to hepatocellular carcinoma. The higher risk from diabetes may be due to high insulin levels in people with diabetes or from liver damage caused by the disease.

Iron storage disease: This causes too much iron to be stored in the liver and other organs. People who have it may develop hepatocellular carcinoma.

Aflatoxin: This harmful substance, which is made by certain types of modern peanuts, corn, and other nuts and grains, can cause hepatocellular carcinoma.


You might not have any symptoms when hepatocellular carcinoma is in an early stage. As the cancer grows, you may have one or more of these:.

  • Pain in the upper right part of your belly
  • A lump or feeling of heaviness in your upper belly
  • Bloating or swelling in your belly
  • Loss of appetite and feelings of fullness
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness or deep fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Yellow skin and eyes
  • Pale, chalky bowel movements and dark urine
  • Fever


Blood test: A sample of your blood and checks to see if it has a protein called AFP. : Unborn babies have high levels of AFP, but it decreases in most people right after birth. If your blood has a high amount of AFP, it could be a sign of liver cancer.

Imaging tests: to get an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to look for tumors in your liver. An ultrasound creates images of your liver with sound waves. A CT scan is a powerful X-ray that makes detailed pictures inside your body. An MRI uses strong magnets and radio waves to make an image of your liver.

Liver biopsy: Your doctor may want to remove a sample of your liver tissue and check it under a microscope for cancer cells


Radiation: This uses high-energy rays to kill your cancer cells. Two types of radiation therapy can treat hepatocellular carcinoma:

External: You'll lie on a table while a large machine aims beams of radiation at specific spots on your chest or belly.

Internal: A doctor injects tiny radioactive particles into the artery that sends blood to your liver. These block or destroy the blood supply to the tumor in your liver.

Radiation therapy can cause side effects, including nausea, vomiting, or tiredness, but these symptoms go away when treatment is done.

Chemotherapy: To treat cancer, doctors often place chemotherapy drugs directly into your liver. It's a process called "chemoembolization.