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Risk factors

The common component to liver cancer risk factors is chronic irritation which causes liver cells to divide more quickly. Specific risk factors for developing liver cancer include:

  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcoholism
  • Miscellaneous irritants to the liver such as
    - Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    - Liver flukes (linked with bile duct cancer in China)
    - Thorotrast
    - Radiation Exposure


To help prevent liver cancer, experts advise limiting alcohol consumption as well as exposure to the hepatitis virus. Vaccines for hepatitis B are available and usually recommended for children and individuals considered at high risk for contracting the disease. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help lower your risk for developing liver cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Most liver cancers do not cause symptoms until late stages, but sometimes they do occur earlier. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling very full after a small meal
  • Ongoing stomach pain
  • Swelling in the stomach area
  • Yellow-green coloration of the skin and eyes known as jaundice
  • Chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis that worsens
  • Liver enlargement or a mass that can be felt in the liver area

For more information on live cancer prevention, contact the Norton Cancer Institute Prevention & Early Detection Program at 1-800-555-6772 or (502) 629-5500 or email

A health care professional will research and respond to your question within 48-hours. Exceptions may include weekends and holidays. 

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