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Liver Cancer


Liver cancer is cancer that begins in your liver. Liver cancer can affect the ability of your liver to remove harmful material from your blood. It can also reduce the ability of your liver to help digest food, and store vitamins and minerals. The two most common types of liver cancer are hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma.



  • Medicines may be given to decrease nausea, pain, or swelling. You may also need medicine to reduce other symptoms.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return for more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Rest as needed. Rest often throughout the day. Alternate times of activity with times of rest.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day. You may not feel hungry, but it is important that you eat. Proper nutrition can give you more energy and help you feel better. A dietitian can help you find ways to get enough protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals. Ask if you need to limit sodium (salt).
  • Drink liquids as directed. Too much or not enough liquid intake can cause swelling in your legs and abdomen. Ask how much liquid to drink each day.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol harms your liver. It can also make your symptoms worse.
  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information if you need help quitting. Avoid being around others who smoke.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have increased weakness or fatigue.
  • You have appetite loss or weight loss.
  • You have increased abdominal pain or swelling.
  • You vomit or cannot keep food or liquids down.
  • You have increased jaundice or your urine is dark.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You are confused, or very drowsy and difficult to wake.
  • You cough up or vomit blood.
  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, or have chest pain.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Liver Cancer (Aftercare Instructions)

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