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What is metastatic liver cancer?
Metastatic liver cancer refers to cancer that originates from another organ in the body but then metastasizes, or spreads, to the liver. This is in contrast to primary liver cancer (see hepatocellular carcinoma). Cancers that can spread to the liver through the lymphatic system or blood include skin, breast, lung, kidney, bladder, ovarian, pancreatic, stomach, colorectal, uterine, prostate, and thyroid cancer. A cancer that has been treated can sometimes show up many years later as a metastatic cancer since some tumors demonstrate microscopic spread into the lymphatic system which can remain hidden for years.
While many primary cancers can metastasize to the liver, the most common types of metastatic liver cancer are those with direct blood supplies to the liver: colorectal, pancreatic, and stomach cancers.
Initially, there may or may not be symptoms from the metastatic liver cancer. If symptoms do occur, the symptoms for metastatic liver cancer include:
- Abdominal pain in upper-right area
- Jaundice, or yellowing of skin and eyes
- Weight loss
When primary cancer is present, a physician may also check for metastatic liver cancer using:
- CT scan
- Liver function tests
- Liver biopsy
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For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our IR physicians, please call 310-481-7545.