Malignant neoplastic disease of the liver occurring most often as a metastasis from another cancer. Primary liver cancer is common in parts of Africa and Asia, where it is often associated with aflatoxins (toxins produced by certain strains of the fungus Aspergillus), but it is rare in the United States, often associated, when it does occur, with cirrhosis of the liver. Symptoms include loss of appetite, weakness, bloating, jaundice, and enlarged, tender liver and mild upper abdominal discomfort. The lesions often metastasize through the portal and lymphatic systems. Treatment depends on the nature and extent of the neoplasm; it may involve removal of a primary tumor and/or chemotherapy.
Liver cancer is categorized as either primary or secondary. Primary liver cancer, which originates in the liver, is relatively rare in the United States. It is usually associated with a history of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or some other chronic liver disease. Secondary liver cancer, the more common type, is metastatic, meaning that it has spread to the liver from other parts of the body (most commonly from cancer of the breast, lung, or intestinal tract). The symptoms of liver cancer include appetite loss, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, and abdominal discomfort.