What Is Liver Cancer and What Causes It?

Q:
What is liver cancer and what causes it?

A:
Overview
Liver cancer is cancer that begins in the cells of your liver. Your liver is a football-sized organ that sits in the upper right portion of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above your stomach.

Several types of cancer can form in the liver. The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which begins in the main type of liver cell (hepatocyte). Other types of liver cancer, such as intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma, are much less common.

Causes
It’s not clear what causes most cases of liver cancer. But in some cases, the cause is known. For instance, chronic infection with certain hepatitis viruses can cause liver cancer.

Liver cancer occurs when liver cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA — the material that provides instructions for every chemical process in your body. DNA mutations cause changes in these instructions. One result is that cells may begin to grow out of control and eventually form a tumor — a mass of cancerous cells.

 

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.