The liver continuously filters blood circulating through the body, converting nutrients and drugs absorbed from the digestive tract into chemicals and removing toxins and other chemical waste products. Because all the blood in the body must pass through it, the liver is accessible to a variety of cancer cells traveling in the bloodstream.
Some cells are benign (noncancerous), and some are cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body. These tumors have different causes and are treated differently.
Liver cancer often has no initial symptoms or may have vague symptoms such as fatigue, fever, chills, and night sweats. As liver cancer progresses, symptoms may include:
- Pain, swelling, or tenderness in the upper right section of the abdomen
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
- Itching all over the body
- Swollen legs
- Fatigue or general weakness
- Mental confusion
- Pain in the left side of the abdomen due to an enlarged spleen
- Development of skin lesions that resemble a spider
If you develop any symptoms, schedule an immediate appointment with Dr. Bhatti. While your symptoms may be related to another liver disorder or some other ailment, it is best not to let them go undiagnosed. Early detection of cancer ensures better response to treatment.
Liver cancer is diagnosed using:
- Blood tests
- CT scans and MRIs
- Liver biopsies
Once liver cancer is diagnosed, Dr. Bhatti will work to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer. Staging tests help determine the size and location of cancer and whether it has spread.
Depending upon the staging results, there are a variety of drug therapies and surgical procedures available to treat liver cancer. If you have concerns about liver cancer, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bhatti to determine whether or not you may benefit from an evaluation. Dr. Bhatti is board-certified and has decades of experience treating patients throughout the state of Minnesota.
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