Liver Cancer (Metastatic)

Metastatic liver cancer is a cancer that started somewhere else in the body and has spread to the liver. This type of cancer most commonly starts in the lung, breast, large intestine, pancreas or stomach. Leukemia and lymphoma may also involve the liver. 

A diagnosis of metastatic liver cancer is sometimes the first way a person finds out he or she has cancer.

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Symptoms

Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Fever
  • A liver that is enlarged, hard, tender or lumpy
  • Abdominal area may become swollen with fluid (called ascites)
  • Jaundice, which is usually mild at first, worsens in the weeks before the person dies
  • Confusion and drowsiness may result as toxins fill the brain
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Diagnosis

It is hard to discover the condition in the early stages. In late stages, tumors cause the liver to stop working normally.

In addition to liver function tests, diagnostic options include:

  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
  • Liver biopsy, which confirms the diagnosis in about 75% of cases
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Treatments

Cedars-Sinai has access to the latest treatments for cancer of the liver.