Liver metastases

Cancer cells can dislodge from the original tumour and spread to the liver via the blood or lymphatic channels where they continue to grow.

Overview

Cancer cells can dislodge from the original tumour and spread to the liver via the blood or lymphatic channels where they continue to grow. These tumours are called liver metastases. They can remain unnoticed, or can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, jaundice or excess abdominal fluid. Possible therapies include chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Initially there are no symptoms
  • Pressure, a feeling of heaviness and dull pain in the upper abdomen
  • Yellowish discolouration of skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Swelling in the abdomen (abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen, ascites)
  • Permanently swollen legs

Other symptoms

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Nausea

Causes and treatment

Causes

When cancer cells dislodge from the original tumour and move through the body to another organ we speak of metastases. Some tumours tend to spread to the liver:

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Ultrasound (sonography)
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Removal of tissue samples (biopsy)
Possible therapies
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Killing of cancer cells with heat or cold (using special wires)
  • Operation

When to see a doctor?

  • Pressure, a feeling of heaviness or dull pain in the upper abdomen
  • Yellowish discolouration of skin or eyes
  • Swollen stomach
  • Permanently swollen legs

Further information

Swiss Cancer League (Krebsliga Schweiz)
www.krebsliga.ch

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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