Signs & symptoms of stage four liver cancer

Written by viktoria carrella
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Liver cancer affects the liver, which is the organ that filters the blood in the body. The liver allows the blood to be cleaned of toxins and contaminants that accumulate in the blood. Stage four liver cancer is when the cancer has advanced to the point where it has spread to other organs and places in the body. Stage four liver cancer is not usually operable. Generally, people are diagnosed when they are in the later stages of liver cancer, largely because they may not experience significant symptoms until they have advanced beyond stage one or two.

Primary Liver Cancer

Primary liver cancer, according to CancerHelp UK, is a cancer that starts in the liver and has not spread from other parts of the body. Hepatocellular liver cancer is the most common form of primary liver cancer, accounting for up to 85 per cent of all liver cancers. The other types of liver cancer are cholangiacarcinoma (starting in the bile duct), angiosacrcoma (starting in the blood vessels in the liver) and hepatoblastoma, which is extremely rare and appears only in children.

Weight Loss

One of the primary symptoms of stage four liver cancer, according to CancerHelp UK, is unexplained weight loss. Often, people with stage four liver cancer have a difficult time eating or feeling hunger. This symptom is extremely common and generally doctors consider a significant unexplained weight loss to be 10 per cent of your body weight if you are not dieting or trying to lose weight.

Swollen Abdomen

According to CancerHelp UK, another very common symptom of stage four liver cancer is a swollen abdomen. This symptom is often due to swelling of the liver itself. As the liver swells and is inflamed, the surrounding tissue is pressed forward and the abdomen pressed outward. Another reason the abdomen swells is because of the congealed blood that is contained in the liver as it becomes less and less able to efficiently clean and process the blood.


Jaundice is a condition where the skin, finger and toenails and whites of the eyes begin to turn yellow according to the Mayo Clinic. This symptom is very common among individuals with stage four cancer because the liver is not operating efficiently to rid the body of toxins and contaminants in the blood. As a result, these toxins begin to build up in the body, turning the skin, nails and eye whites yellowish in colour.

Nausea and Vomiting

According to the Mayo Clinic, another common symptom among individuals with stage four liver cancer is nausea and vomiting. This symptom is common because the bile duct is connected to the liver. The bile duct is also connected to the gall bladder which assists in digestion by producing bile which processes fats and food substances. As the liver begins to shut down, the bile duct is also affected, making a person feel nauseated and inducing vomiting after a meal.

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