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Primary liver cancer: Causes, symptoms and risk factors of this tumor

Primary liver cancer: Causes, symptoms and risk factors of this tumor


Consider a scenario in which you are in excellent health and receive an unexpected diagnosis of advanced liver cancer. Doesn’t that sound frightening? Liver cancer has an encouraging characteristic in that it grows latently, often showing no symptoms until it is too late. This emphasizes how crucial it is to screen for liver cancer.

Causes, signs, and risk factors of primary liver cancer (Shutterstock)

Dr. Uday Sanglodkar, Senior Consultant Hepatologist and Clinical Lead Liver and Transplant ICU at worldwide Hospitals in Parel, said in an interview with HT Lifestyle: “Malignant tumors that start in the liver are referred to as liver cancer, specifically primary liver cancer. It can be categorized into several types, the most prevalent of which is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), commonly referred to as hepatoma. Hepatocytes, the primary cell type found in the liver, are the source of this type of primary liver cancer.


According to Dr. Uday Sanglodkar, “Changes or mutations in the DNA of liver cells cause liver cancer.” This may lead to unchecked cell growth, which can result in tumors containing cancer cells. In certain instances, a chronic hepatitis infection may be identified as the cause of liver cancer. On the other hand, liver cancer can occur in individuals who have never had any medical history, though its exact cause is still a mystery.


“If these occur, they can involve unexpected weight loss, loss of appetite, pain in the upper part of the abdomen, feeling ill in vomiting, feeling tired and weak in overall, irritation in the abdomen, a yellow color to your skin and the whites of your eyes identified as jaundice, and stools that have a chalky white appearance,” Dr. Uday Sanglodkar said, emphasizing that most people do not have any visible symptoms in the early stages of primary liver cancer.

Risk factors:

According to Dr. Uday Sanglodkar, there are a number of factors that can raise one’s risk of liver cancer. Among them are persistent hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, which both raise the risk of liver cancer. Another significant factor is cirrhosis, a severe and irreversible illness that causes the liver to scar. This cancer can be brought on by certain hereditary liver conditions, such as Wilson’s hemochromatosis, and diabetes. An additional risk factor is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is characterized by fatty liver accumulation. Overindulgence in alcohol can permanently harm the liver, raising the risk of liver cancer.”

He underscored the critical importance of swiftly detecting liver cancer, emphasizing the challenge posed by its early symptoms that often mimic common illnesses like tiredness or decreased appetite. Stressing the necessity of early diagnosis in addressing liver cancer, he highlighted the subtle nature of these symptoms, thus emphasizing the need for regular screening, particularly among those at high risk. Detecting liver cancer at an early stage significantly elevates the prospects of successful treatment and survival rates. Timely identification of malignant diseases allows for intervention before they progress to more dangerous phases. Liver cancer symptoms typically emerge only in advanced stages, intensifying the essential role of routine screening as a defense against this insidious threat.

Doctors can obtain precise data about a patient’s liver without making a single cut with non-invasive tests like blood work for The alpha-f (AFP) and ultrasound tests he said in closing. The first line of detection is typically an ultrasound examination, which uses a non-invasive technique to detect any malignant growth. An intricate image of the tumor’s location and size can be obtained through CT and MRI scans. Thus, make sure you don’t miss your scheduled liver examination.