Two signs on your skin that could indicate liver cancer

Liver cancer: Expert discusses symptoms and treatments

Liver cancer is the eighth most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK, accounting for almost 6,000 every year. For some the disease will be unavoidable, with age and family history both risk factors. However, your risk is also increased by multiple lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol and obesity.

As with any disease, the sooner you spot the symptoms the sooner you can seek treatment.

Therefore, being aware of some of the signs of liver cancer could be life-saving.

According to Cancer Research UK, there are two symptoms of liver cancer that could present on the skin.

These are having skin that turns yellow and skin that becomes itchy.

Both these signs are due to jaundice, which can also cause the whites of your eyes to become yellow.

This occurs if a yellow substance called bilirubin builds up around the body.

Bilirubin is created during the process of breaking down old red blood cells.

A healthy liver is able to remove most of the bilirubin from the body. However, if the liver becomes damaged the bilirubin can leak from the liver into the blood, causing jaundice.

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This can also change the colour of your excrement.

“Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes,” Cancer Research UK explains.

“When you have jaundice your wee (urine) is darker than normal and your poo (stools or faeces) is lighter in colour.

“Most people who have jaundice also have itchy skin and may feel sick.

“Jaundice is caused by a blockage in the bile duct or your liver not working properly.”

The charity adds: “You can get a high temperature (fever) when you have jaundice. High temperature can be a sign of inflammation or an infection.

“When your temperature is high you may feel cold and shivery.”

If you experience jaundice you should speak to your GP.

Other common symptoms of liver cancer include:

  • Weight loss
  • Feeling sick
  • Swollen tummy (abdomen)
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full after eating small amounts
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • A lump in the right side of your abdomen
  • Pain in your right shoulder.

Cancer Research UK says: “See your GP if you have any of these symptoms.

“Remember primary liver cancer isn’t common in the UK and these symptoms can be caused by other conditions.

“But it’s important to get them checked by a doctor.”

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