HealthSpotting the signs, the importance of early detection for liver cancer survival

Spotting the signs, the importance of early detection for liver cancer survival

First symptoms of liver cancer
First symptoms of liver cancer
Images source: © Adobe Stock | drazen_zigic
3:08 PM EST, January 15, 2024

The liver serves numerous functions, including digestion, metabolism, detoxification, protein production, storage of vitamins and minerals, and more. Hence, it's in our best interest to keep it in a healthy condition.

Dr Ayman Saleh of the Sidra Medicine Qatar Foundation encourages us to be particularly aware of:

- Unusual loss of weight,

- Decreased appetite or a feeling of fullness after small meals,

- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen, particularly in the upper right area,

- Enlargement or swelling of the abdomen,

- Jaundice (signified by yellowing of the skin and eyes),

- General fatigue and weakness,

- Nausea and vomiting,

- Stools that are white or chalky,

- Dark colored urine.

Numerous doctors also identify skin itching as a potential symptom. Similar to symptoms resembling indigestion, this is often misattributed to other dermatological issues.

However, when the liver functions abnormally, for instance, due to cancer, bilirubin can accumulate in the skin, causing, amongst other conditions, a sensation of itching. Sometimes, this itching is the patient's first recognizable symptom of the disease.

Maintaining a Healthy Liver

Even though the aforementioned symptoms could be caused by a variety of health issues, which also necessitate diagnosis and treatment, it is crucial to conduct thorough checks.

Patients who have their liver cancer detected and treated in the early stages (that is, when the tumor diameter is less than 0.78 inches) generally have a positive prognosis. The five-year survival rate — the percentage of individuals who live for at least five years after diagnosis — is an impressive 90 percent.

Consequently, regular observation of your body and routine tests to check bilirubin levels in your blood are of utmost importance. In healthy individuals, the bilirubin level should be between 6.8 and 12 grams (higher amounts are typically diagnosed in newborns and pregnant women).

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