The liver, which is located in the abdominal cavity, is one of the largest organs in the body. This vital organ is reddish brown in color and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. The main function of the liver is to synthesize and breakdown the protein molecules into amino acids for easy digestion and assimilation. Other liver functions include secretion of bile, a liver enzyme required for easy digestion, controlling metabolism and detoxifying the body. The liver may get affected due to a number of diseases, owing to an unhealthy lifestyle. One such serious type of liver problem is a liver tumor.
What is a Liver Tumor
Like the rest of the organs, the liver is also made up of cells. Since one of the main functions the liver is to expel toxins from the body, sometimes, there is a chance of the toxins getting accumulated in the cells. The cells may begin to multiply at an abnormal pace in an uncontrolled manner, leading to the formation of cysts on the liver. These liver cysts are also known as liver tumors.
Liver tumors can be either benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) in nature. Benign tumors usually do not pose a threat to the health and are often detected accidentally. However, on the other hand, malignant tumors can be risky and may lead to liver cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma is a primary type of liver cancer, which can metastasize to other organs in the body and become secondary, which is more fatal. Other causes of secondary or metastatic liver cancer are advanced stages of other cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer and kidney cancer, etc.
Symptoms of Liver Tumor
Unfortunately, individuals suffering from liver lesions or liver cancer do not exhibit any symptoms in the initial stages of the disorder. The symptoms are evident only after the cancer has progressed and metastasized to other parts of the body. Given here are some of the signs, which can help diagnose this health disorder.
- Pain in the abdominal region, on the right side, below the breast bone (or sternum). It is actually liver pain which may have radiated to the abdominal region.
- A feeling of fullness or bloating sensation due to an enlarged liver.
- Swollen abdomen, which may feel tender when touched.
- Discoloration or yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes due to jaundice.
- A bitter taste in the mouth due to overproduction of bile can be observed.
- Headache, high grade fever, and lethargy are also common complaints of people who have tumors in the liver.
- Unexplained weight loss can also be observed in such cases, due to reduced intake and amount of food.
- Loss of appetite, nausea induced vomiting, chalky colored feces and general body weakness are some other signs of the presence of cysts or lesions on the liver.
Treating Liver Tumor
A failure to diagnose the signs of tumor can damage the liver and result in liver failure, which can be life-threatening. Hence a routine visit to a health care provider is a must, which will help diagnose this disorder before it's too late. Sometimes, the tumor may grow so large that it can be felt as a swelling in the abdomen. An MRI scan can reveal the exact location of the tumors and a biopsy can help detect the nature of the tumor. Chemotherapy and radiation are used to destroy the growth of cancerous cells. In some cases, when the condition is serious, then the patient may have to undergo a liver transplant surgery, which can increase the life expectancy of the patient.
This was all about liver tumor symptoms. To maintain the healthy and proper functioning of the liver, lead a healthy lifestyle and stay away from alcohol. Wish you good health!