Slideshows Images Quizzes
font size

Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Liver cancer facts

  • Most people who get liver cancer (hepatic cancer) get it in the setting of chronic liver disease.
  • Incidence rates of hepatocellular cancer are rising in the United States due to increasing prevalence of cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis C and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • There are many treatment alternatives for liver cancer. The treatment chosen depends upon how much the cancer has spread and the general health of the liver and the overall health of the patient.
  • The type of physician that treats liver cancer is a specialist called an oncologist, an internal medicine doctor with a board certification in oncology.

Where is the liver located?

The liver is the largest organ inside the body and is located under the right ribs and beneath the right lung. The liver has several functions. It secretes bile into the intestines to absorb fats, breaks down and stores nutrients, manufactures clotting factors needed to stop bleeding, and breaks down toxic agents, like alcohol and drugs. Once the toxic agents are broken down, they can be eliminated from the body through urine or stool. One of the causes of cirrhosis, the scarring of the liver, is alcoholism. A person cannot live without a liver, so liver shut down or liver failure is fatal.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which can progress to scarring (fibrosis) or liver cancer. Hepatitis can be caused by toxic substances, infection, or autoimmune diseases. Common viruses that cause hepatitis are referred to as types A, B, C, D, and E. It's possible to prevent hepatitis with a vaccine available for types A, B, and E.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/26/2017



Get the latest treatment options.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors