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Doctor Joseph Ambani has revealed the ‘early’ warning signs of liver cancer, as most people are diagnosed during the later stages.

Around 5,800 people die from liver cancer every year in the UK – equivalent to 16 every day – making it the 8th most deadly cancer.

The disease either strikes in the liver, known as primary liver cancer, or starts somewhere else in the body and spreads to the liver, called secondary liver cancer. If it is diagnosed at an early stage, it may be possible to remove the cancer completely using a number of treatment options, including surgical resection or a liver transplant.

Unfortunately, most people are diagnosed when the cancer has spread too far to be removed or completely destroyed, warns NHS Inform. The American Cancer Society explains that it is often hard to spot the disease early because symptoms usually don’t appear until the later stages.

However, one health expert has pointed out the “first” warning signs that could signal liver cancer. Joseph Ambani, Medical Doctor from GlowBar, highlighted the red flags that strike “early on” during the course of the devastating disease and crop up at mealtimes.

1 Doctor working at desk in medical practice
Most people are diagnosed when liver cancer has spread too far to be removed ( Image: Getty Images/Westend61)

He said: “Generally, people living with liver cancer will find themselves losing their appetite for food or being unable to eat as much as before due to abdominal discomfort or nausea. Additionally, those affected by the disease may find that even eating small amounts causes pain and discomfort in the stomach area.”


Changes in your appetite could ring alarm bells and alert you of the serious condition – but the symptom may also be linked to a number of other health problems. Understanding the symptoms of liver cancer is key to catching the disease early, and there are 10 red flags to watch out for.

Liver cancer symptoms

According to Ambani, the full list of early symptoms could include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the eyes)
  • An enlarged abdomen due to fluid build-up (ascites)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting.

He advised: “To identify potential liver cancer, pay close attention to your body’s warning signs.”

While these symptoms are considered ‘common’ signs of the disease, Cancer Nurse at Perci Health, Lisa Jacques, added that red flags can also be caused by conditions that are not cancer.

1 Waist measurement
Waist measurement ( Image: Getty)

The nurse added: “So having these symptoms does not mean you definitely have liver cancer. It is important to speak to your GP about these symptoms, or any other symptoms that you are concerned about. If they are caused by cancer, detecting cancer earlier means it is more treatable.”

The NHS also recommends getting any symptoms of liver cancer checked “as soon as possible”.

What causes liver cancer?

According to NHS Inform, the exact causes of liver cancer are unknown, but most cases are associated with damage and scarring of the liver known as cirrhosis.

There are a number of causes for cirrhosis, including drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over many years and having a long-term hepatitis B or hepatitis C viral infection.


Obesity and an unhealthy diet can also increase the risk of liver cancer because this can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The health body recommends cutting down on alcohol, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and taking steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected with hepatitis B and C.

Source: Mirror


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