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Liver Cancer: Diagnosis and Staging

Diagnosis of Liver Cancer
A patient with liver cancer symptoms at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia may have one or more of the following procedures to diagnose liver cancer and/or other gastrointestinal cancers:

  • Angiogram: A doctor injects a dye into an artery so that the blood vessels in the liver are visible. This can help to identify a tumor.
  • Biopsy: Requires the removal of tissue to be inspected for cancer cells by a pathologist.
  • Blood Tests: Can help detect how well the liver is functioning.
  • CT Scan: Takes a series of detailed pictures of the liver and surrounding organs and tissue in the abdomen. These pictures allow doctors to see tumors in the liver and in the abdomen.
  • MRI: Uses a powerful magnet linked to a computer to create images of a targeted area such as the liver or abdomen in order to see tumors and irregular tissues.
  • Physical Exam: Allows a doctor to feel the abdomen for any lumps or abnormalities (changes in shape or size) in the spleen and surrounding organs.
  • Ultrasound: Uses sound waves to create images of the liver and other structures in the abdomen so that a doctor can see any tumors or abnormal tissue.

Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer
Because most people do not exhibit symptoms of liver cancer early on, it usually remains undetected until it has reached the advanced stages.

For those who do experience symptoms of liver cancer, they may include:

  • A yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain, especially in the upper right part of the abdomen
  • Abdominal swelling
  • An enlarged liver
  • General weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss

Liver Cancer Diagnosis and Symptoms Questions and Appointments
Contact us for more information about our liver cancer treatment programs.