Symptoms of primary liver cancer

In the early stages of primary liver cancer (HCC), there are often no symptoms. People with long-term (chronic) liver disease may have regular tests to check their liver. If they develop HCC, these tests may find it before symptoms develop.

Possible symptoms of HCC include:

  • losing your appetite
  • feeling full soon after beginning to eat
  • losing weight for no obvious reason
  • feeling sick (nausea) and vomiting
  • feeling extremely tired (fatigued), generally weak or unwell
  • aching or pain on the right side of the tummy area (abdomen) under the ribs
  • a high temperature and flu-like symptoms
  • a swollen tummy, caused by fluid build-up (called ascites)
  • a yellow tinge to the skin and whites of the eyes (called jaundice).
  • dark urine and pale stools
  • bruising or bleeding easily

It is important to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, even though they can be caused by other conditions. It is especially important to get them checked if you have risk factors for liver cancer.

Back to Understanding primary liver cancer

What is cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

The liver

The liver is the largest organ in the body. It carries out important functions.

Types of primary liver cancer

Primary liver cancer is rare but increasing in the UK. The most common type is called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).