Liver cancer, also known as hepatic cancer and primary hepatic cancer, is cancer that starts in the liver. Cancer which has spread from elsewhere to the liver, known as liver metastasis, is more common than that which starts in the liver. Symptoms of liver cancer may include a lump or pain in the right side below the rib cage, swelling of the abdomen, yellowish skin, easy bruising, weight loss, and weakness.
The leading cause of liver cancer is cirrhosis due to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or alcohol. Other causes include aflatoxin, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and liver flukes. The most common types are hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which makes up 80% of cases, and cholangiocarcinoma. Less common types include mucinous cystic neoplasm and intraductal papillary biliary neoplasm. The diagnosis may be supported by blood tests and medical imaging with confirmation by tissue biopsy.
Preventive efforts include immunization against hepatitis B and treating those infected with hepatitis B or C. Screening is recommended in those with chronic liver disease. Treatment options may include surgery, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy. In certain cases ablation therapy, embolization therapy, or liver transplantation may be used. Small lumps in the liver may be closely followed.
Primary liver cancer is globally the sixth most frequent cancer (6%) and the second leading cause of death from cancer (9%). In 2012 it occurred in 782,000 people and in 2015 resulted in 810,500 deaths. In 2015, 263,000 deaths from liver cancer were due to hepatitis B, 167,000 to hepatitis C, and 245,000 to alcohol. Higher rates of liver cancer occur where hepatitis B and C are common, including Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Males are more often affected with HCC than females. Diagnosis is most frequent among those 55 to 65 years old. Five-year survival rates are 18% in the United States. The word "hepatic" is from the Greek hêpar, meaning "liver".