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15 February 2023

Be Proactive: How to Identify and Address Liver Cancer Early

Liver Cancer is one of the fastest-spreading Cancers in India. Just like every other form of Cancer, early detection of Liver Cancer can be very helpful in its efficient treatment.

That’s why a lot of Patients and their relatives often ask us during OPD how they can identify the symptoms of Liver Cancer in the early stages.

So, let’s understand Stages and symptoms of  Liver cancer.


Dr. Praveen Kammar


Consultant Surgical Oncologist

What is the Liver, and How does it Function?

The Liver is a vital organ located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. It plays a crucial role in metabolism, detoxification, and the regulation of various bodily functions. It is responsible for breaking down and processing nutrients from food, as well as producing bile to aid in digestion.

Liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, occurs when malignant cells form in the liver tissue. Various factors, including chronic infection with hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis, and excessive alcohol consumption, can cause it.

The Liver detoxifies harmful substances, metabolizes drugs, and regulates blood sugar levels, blood clotting, and immune function. Additionally, the Liver helps to filter out waste products and toxins from the blood, which are then excreted by the body.

What are the Early Symptoms of Liver Cancer?

Similar to other cancers, liver cancer also does not cause any symptoms in early stages. Hence , we try to identify people who are at risk of developing liver cancer, so that they can be monitored for development of cancer. 

Sudden Worsening of overall liver function may be an important sign of development of a new cancer in the damaged liver.

Some of the common symptoms associated with liver cancer are mentioned below. Please remember that these do not indicate an early stage cancer.

Unintended weight loss:
It is a common early symptom of liver cancer. It can be caused by the cancerous cells in the Liver affecting the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients from food.

Loss of appetite:
Loss of appetite can also be an early symptom of liver cancer, as the cancerous cells in the Liver can affect the body’s ability to process food, leading to a loss of appetite.

Nausea and vomiting:
As the cancerous cells in the Liver can affect the body’s ability to process food and toxins, it might lead to feelings of nausea and vomiting.

Yellowish discolouration of skin and eyes:
A common symptom of liver cancer, known as jaundice, is caused by a build-up of bilirubin in the bloodstream.

Pain in the upper right side of the stomach:
Pain can also be an early symptom of liver cancer, as the cancerous cells in the Liver can cause the Liver to enlarge and press against surrounding organs, leading to pain and discomfort in the upper right side of the stomach.

But it’s critical to note that these symptoms are too generic and might occur due to some other health condition.

So the right way to diagnose Liver Cancer is to consult with a specialist as soon as possible.

Parting Thoughts

The Liver is a big organ that can function without any severe signs, even if it’s damaged up to 90%! When patients notice the symptoms or they become severe, it’s already too late.

As our in-house specialist, Dr Praveen Kammar (Consultant Surgical Oncologist, SSO Hospital, Mumbai) puts it aptly, the best way to ensure effective treatment of Liver Cancer is to consult your doctor.

We hope this quick guide on early-stage Liver Cancer symptoms will shed some light. If you need more assistance, you can always reach out to us; our team will be happy to help.

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