We urge people across the UK to find out more about the risks and symptoms. It is also essential that GPs and other healthcare professionals keep the risk factors and warning signs at the front of their mind so people are referred for specialist tests and diagnosed quickly.
The British Liver Trust is urging the public and healthcare professionals to learn more about liver cancer risk factors and symptoms. 16 people are diagnosed each day and most cases are linked to hepatitis infections, alcohol and obesity. Co-factors such as diabetes and smoking further increase the risk.
Often there are no early symptoms of liver cancer, because the liver is a very resilient organ that can continue to work well even when large parts of it are damaged. If you do notice symptoms, they may be similar to those seen in other liver conditions, and are often exactly the same as those in cirrhosis.
- A general feeling of poor health
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of weight
- Discomfort over the liver area (upper right hand section of the abdomen)
- Itchy skin
- Pale or grey poo
- Dark urine
- Loss of libido (sex drive).
Red flag symptoms. If you have any of the following symptoms, seek medical help immediately:
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes, and often the first and only symptom of liver disease).
- Swelling of the abdomen, which may be due to a build-up of fluid (known as ‘ascites’) or the cancer itself.