Liver Cancer (Primary)

Primary liver cancers begin in the liver. The various types include:

  • Cholangiocarcinoma - a slow-growing cancer that starts in the lining inside the liver or in the bile ducts outside the liver
  • Hepatoblastoma - more common in infants. Boys get the disease twice as often as girls. It sometimes occurs in older children and may produce hormones that result in early puberty.
  • Angiosarcoma - a rare cancer that starts in the blood vessels of the liver
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Symptoms

Signs of primary liver cancers are often vague.

Symptoms include:

  • Sudden failing health
  • Jaundice
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort in the abdominal area

 

Causes and Risk Factors

In most cases of liver cancer, the cause is not known. Long-standing ulcerative colitis and scelerosing cholangitis can sometimes increase the chances of getting cholangiocarcinoma. Angiosarcoma can be caused by exposure to vinyl chloride or arsenic in the workplace.

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Diagnosis

Depending on the type, liver cancers can be diagnosed using one or more of the following:

  • A physical exam (doctors can sometimes feel a a large mass in the stomach area)
  • Biopsy (A small sample of liver tissue is taken for examination under the microscope.)
  • Special X-rays
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Treatments

Cedars-Sinai has access to the latest liver cancer treatment options.

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