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Adult Primary Liver Cancer

Adult Primary Liver Cancer Is a Disease in Which Malignant (Cancer) Cells Form in the Tissues of the Liver.

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The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It has four lobes and fills the upper right side of the abdomen inside the rib cage. Three of the many important functions of the liver are:

  • To filter harmful substances from the blood so they can be passed from the body in stools and urine.
  • To make bile to help digest fat that comes from food.
  • To store glycogen (sugar), which the body uses for energy.

There Are Two Types of Adult Primary Liver Cancer.

The two types of adult primary liver cancer are:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer).

The most common type of adult primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma. This type of liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

This summary is about the treatment of primary liver cancer (cancer that begins in the liver). Treatment of cancer that begins in other parts of the body and spreads to the liver is not covered in this summary.

Primary liver cancer can occur in both adults and children. However, treatment for children is different than treatment for adults.

Having Hepatitis or Cirrhosis Can Affect the Risk of Adult Primary Liver Cancer.

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk.

The following are risk factors for adult primary liver cancer:

Last Reviewed 12/7/2017

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Adult Primary Liver Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

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Adult Primary Liver Cancer - Treatment

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Sign of Adult Primary Liver Cancer


Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin, mucous membranes, and the whites of the eyes caused by increased amounts of bilirubin in the blood. Jaundice is a sign of an underlying disease process.

Bilirubin is a by-product of the daily natural breakdown and destruction of red blood cells in the body. The hemoglobin molecule that is released into the blood by this process is split, with the heme portion undergoing a chemical conversion to bilirubin. Normally, the liver metabolizes and excretes the bilirubin in the form of bile. However, if there is a disruption in this normal metabolism and/or production of bilirubin, jaundice may result.

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