Liver cancer is a really sneaky disease. Symptoms take a long time to manifest, and when they do, they are often non-specific. This means that the diagnosis is often made when the disease is already advanced. What are the signs that should alarm us?
The majority of cases of liver cancer are hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). The statistics are frightening - it is responsible for 500,000 to 1 million deaths per year, making it the 3rd leading cause of death worldwide. In France, the mortality associated with HCC is approximately 8000 deaths per year. Hepatocellular carcinoma usually develops on the ground of cirrhosis, which can be caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is estimated to be responsible for 40% of all cases of liver cancer, and doctors report that early diagnosis of the infection would give almost a 100% chance of cure.
Unfortunately, symptoms usually appear when the disease is already advanced. However, there are certain signs that may indicate a problem at an earlier stage. Noticeable loss of appetite and feeling full quickly, even after eating a small amount of food, should be cause for concern.
In general, people living with liver cancer lose their appetite or cannot eat as much as before due to abdominal discomfort or nausea. In addition, people with this disease may find that even eating small amounts of food causes pain and discomfort in the stomach - says Dr. Joseph Ambani in an interview with a British newspaper. Symptoms of liver cancer include:
Doctors draw attention to symptoms that can also appear on the skin. Liver disease can cause spider veins on the chest and palmar erythema.