What to Know About Liver Cancer Pain

Liver cancer is generally classified as primary or secondary. Primary liver cancer begins in the liver cells. Second liver cancer occurs when cancer cells from another organ spread to the liver.

Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is more likely to occur in liver damaged by birth defects, alcoholism, or chronic infections such as hepatitis B and C, hemochromatosis , and cirrhosis.

The second liver cancer is a cancer that started in another part of the body and spread to the liver. This type is also called metastatic liver cancer. This type of cancer usually that starts in other parts of the body and spreads to the liver. The medical term for cancer that has spread is metastatic, so second-line cancer is also known as metastatic liver cancer.

What to know about cancer

Cancer is a disease that occurs when abnormal cells grow too fast and leave little space for normal cells. Liver cancer is a cancer that occurs in the liver. The liver is the largest organ in the body and performs a variety of functions to keep the body free of toxins and harmful substances.

Risk factors

Factors that increase the risk of liver cancer include:

  • Cirrhosis; This persistent and irreversible condition causes scarring to form in your liver and increases your chances of getting liver cancer.
  • Some inherited liver diseases; Liver diseases that may increase the risk of liver cancer include hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease.
  • Diabetes; People with this blood sugar problem have a higher risk of getting liver cancer than those who do not have diabetes.
  • Non-alcoholic liver disease; The accumulation of fat in the liver increases the risk of liver cancer.
  • Exposure to aflatoxins; Aflatoxins are fungi produced by fungi that grow on crops that are poorly stored. Crops, such as grains and nuts, can be contaminated with aflatoxins, which can end up in foods made with these products.
  • Excessive drinking; Drinking more than the average daily dose of alcohol for many years can lead to irreversible liver damage and increase your risk of liver cancer.

Stages of liver cancer?

One idea you may have when you hear that you have cancer. Doctor uses a process called staging to provide a cancer diagnosis number from I to IV. The more the population, the more likely it is that cancer will spread. Cancer is also defined by how it can be treated, especially by determining if the cancer can be surgically removed.

Stages of liver cancer include the following:

  • Stage I; One tumor is found only in the liver.
  • Stage II; One tumor is found, but spreads to blood vessels, OR more than one tumor is present, but they are all smaller than 3 cm.
  • Stage III; In Stage 3 of liver cancer, there is more than one tumor and each of them is at least 5 cm larger, OR the cancer has moved out of the liver into large blood vessels, another organ, or lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV; Cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones, as well as lymph nodes.

Liver cancer can also be called recurrent. Recurrent liver cancer can return to the liver or anywhere else in the body.

Symptoms of liver cancer pain

In its early stages, liver cancer may have no symptoms that can be seen or felt. However, as the cancer progresses, people may discover one or more of these common symptoms. It is important to remember that these symptoms can also be caused by other health conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Symptoms of liver cancer may include;

  1. Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side.
  2. Swollen abdomen.
  3. Tough lump on the right side below the ribs.
  4. Pain near right or back shoulder blade.
  5. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).
  6. Simple bruises or bleeding.
  7. Unusual tiredness.
  8. Nausea and vomiting.
  9. Loss of appetite.
  10. Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness.

Causes of liver cancer pain

Liver cancer occurs when liver cells make mutations in their DNA. Cell’s DNA is a material that provides instructions for every chemical process in your body. DNA mutations cause changes in these instructions. One result is that cells can begin to grow out of control and eventually form massive tumors of cancer cells.

Doctors still do not know the exact causes of liver cancer. However, most liver cancers are associated with cirrhosis. According to Experts says, chronic hepatitis B or C virus infections are the most common causes of a reliable source of liver cancer in the U.S.

People with any type of virus have a higher risk of getting liver cancer than other healthy people, as both types can cause cirrhosis. Some inherited liver diseases, such as hemochromatosis, cause cirrhosis, and also increase the risk of liver cancer.

Other risk factors for the development of liver cancer include:

  • Type 2 diabetes; People with type 2 diabetes, especially if they also have hepatitis or regularly drink alcohol, are more likely to get liver cancer.
  • family history; If a mother, father, brother, or sister has had liver cancer, they are at greater risk of contracting the disease themselves.
  • Heavy alcohol consumption; Drinking more than six alcoholic beverages daily for long periods of time can lead to cirrhosis. This, in turn, increases the risk of liver cancer.
  • Long term exposure to aflatoxins; A certain fungus produces a substance called aflatoxin. When mold grows on the following crops, it can lead to the presence of aflatoxin


Blood tests; Blood tests can check how well the liver is working; and how well your blood cools; as well as looking at certain chemicals known as tumor markers; if you have hepatitis B or C; and any genetic problems.

Ultrasound; A widely used method of detecting primary liver cancer, ultrasound examination provides images of the organ, and can show the size and location of abnormal tissue in your liver.

CT scan; CT scans provide three-dimensional images of several organs at the same time, and they can help doctors plan surgery. It can also see if the cancer has spread.

MRI; MRI scans provide detailed images of various parts of the body, and can show the size of the tumor and whether it affects the main blood vessels around the liver.

PET-CT scan; More commonly used for secondary cancers in the liver, PET-CT scans provide three-dimensional color images that show where any cancer is located in the body.

Biopsy; A biopsy is when a small amount of tissue is removed for examination under a microscope. The biopsy is performed by either: inhalation of the needle, which involves a local anesthetic, and a thin needle that removes the cells.

If you have secondary cancer in the liver, you may have more tests to find out where the primary cancer started, if this is not already known.


Liver cancer has a lower survival rate compared to other cancers. However, people can reduce their risk of contracting the disease. They can also improve their chances of early detection. There is no way to completely prevent liver cancer, but the following steps can help reduce the risk.

  1. Moderate alcohol intake; Regular consumption of large amounts of alcohol significantly increases the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
  2. Reduce tobacco intake; This can help prevent liver cancer, especially in people with hepatitis B and C.
  3. Maintaining a healthy body weight; Obesity is a risk factor as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy body and maintaining a moderate body weight can help reduce the risk of liver cancer.
  4. Treating the underlying condition; Other conditions can lead to liver cancer, such as diabetes and hemochromatosis. Treating these before they develop into liver cancer can reduce the risk of complications.

It is best to seek medical advice if one suspects that you may have early symptoms of liver cancer. Regular screening is important for people at high risk of the disease.

Treatment of liver cancer pain

Advanced liver cancer, as well as in the area where it has spread to other parts of the body, has a much lower survival rate. However, the cancer care team can take steps to treat the symptoms and reduce tumor growth. Treatment options may vary, depending on the type of liver cancer.

1. Surgery

Surgery may involve the removal of a portion of a liver, or a liver transplant, in which the entire liver is replaced by a donor liver. Surgery is suitable for a small number of people with liver cancer, and will depend on the size, number and position of the tumors.

Surgical removal of a part of the liver is called partial hepatectomy. Following surgery, the remaining part of the liver can usually repair itself if not damaged, and grow back to normal size in a few months. If there is swelling in both sides of the liver, surgery can be performed in two steps, to allow the liver to grow again after the first surgery.

For some people, it is impossible to remove part of the liver, and they can be considered for transplantation. Several factors are considered before a person qualifies for a liver transplant, including a person’s general health. In addition, a person should not smoke or use illegal drugs and should have stopped drinking for at least six months.

2. Chemotherapy

Depending on the type of liver cancer you have, you may receive chemotherapy to kill, slow down or slow down the growth of tumors. Chemotherapy can be given systematically, either in tablets or intravenously, which means that it travels throughout the body.

This can be given following other treatments, such as surgery or cryotherapy, to remove any remaining cancer cells. It is usually not used to treat primary liver cancer unless the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Systemic therapy can also be used as a treatment to slow the growth of cancer and reduce pain. Chemical therapy can also be given directly to the tumor, called chemoembolization. Since it targets the tumor directly, more powerful drugs can be used. Chemoembolization is mainly used for primary liver cancer.

3. Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It can be emitted by external beam radiation or by internal radiation. In the outer rays of the beam, the radiation targets the abdomen and chest. Internal radiation involves the use of a catheter to insert small beads of radiation into the hepatic artery.

The radiation then damages the liver artery, a blood vessel that supplies blood to the liver. This reduces the amount of blood circulating in the tumor. When the liver artery is closed, the artery continues to feed the liver.

4. Liver transplantation

In some cases, a liver transplant can be performed. This procedure is only possible when specific criteria are met, including having a specific tumor size and number and if appropriate donors are available. These criteria are usually either to have one lump which is 5 cm or less or to have 3 lumps or less, all of which are less than 3 cm.

After the transplant, the patient will be closely monitored for signs that the body may be rejecting the new liver or the tumor has returned. The patient must take medication to prevent rejection. These medications can cause side effects, such as facial swelling, high blood pressure, or increased body hair.


The physician may recommend that the individual participate in clinical trials and treatments that have not yet been generally performed. These can reduce symptoms, and people may ask their doctor about any ongoing clinical trials that may be appropriate.