Cancer in the liver develops when abnormal liver cells or bile ducts cells (in the liver or leaving the liver) grow out of control. Malignant, also called cancerous, liver tumors can spread to nearby tissues or other parts of the body.
Liver cancer symptoms can mimic those of other conditions and, as a result, sometimes there is a delay in diagnosis. If you or a loved one experiences liver cancer symptoms, don't wait to see a doctor.
What causes liver cancer?
While we don't know what causes most liver cancer cases, we are aware of factors that can increase your risk. People with cirrhosis, or liver scarring, have a greater chance of developing liver cancer. Among the causes of cirrhosis are heavy alcohol use and long-term hepatitis B and C infections.
Obesity (leading to a fatty liver) is also a risk factor. Finally, prolonged exposure to certain chemicals such as aflatoxin, vinyl chloride, and arsenic can increase liver cancer risk, though this is very uncommon.