The majority of patients with liver cancer do not experience symptoms until later stages of the disease. The symptoms of liver cancer can also be indicative of other, less serious conditions. If you notice any of the signs, it is best to see a doctor for a screening before beginning to worry.
A number of risk factors contribute to one's chances of developing liver cancer, including infection with hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis, diabetes, exposure to aflatoxins, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. If factors beyond your control raise your chance of liver cancer, you can still prevent excess risk. Maintain a healthy weight, drink alcohol only in moderation, get vaccinated against hepatitis B, stop smoking, and don't engage in unprotected sex.
If you have an increased risk of liver cancer, you can request regular screening -- often performed every six months -- to check for any abnormalities in the liver. As with most cancers, the survival rate is much higher -- 31 percent -- when a doctor can make a diagnosis in the early stages of the disease. Survival rates drop to 11 percent with late diagnosis.
Additional symptoms of liver cancer include general weakness and exhaustion. Some people also experience yellowing of the eyes, white or chalky stools, and abdominal swelling.
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