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Home > Cancers Treated > Liver Metastases (Secondary Liver Cancer)

Liver Metastases (Secondary Liver Cancer)

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Secondary liver cancer—or metastatic liver cancer—begins in another part of the body and spreads to the liver.

What is secondary liver cancer?

In many cases, cancer found in the liver did not start there (it may have originated in the colon, breast, esophagus, pancreas, stomach or lung, for example). Primary liver cancer, on the other hand, is cancer that began in the liver.

Who develops secondary liver cancer?

Cancer may spread to the liver in people who have other types of primary cancer, such as colon, breast or lung cancer.

What are the symptoms of secondary liver cancer?

Symptoms may include:

  • a lump or pain on the right side of the abdomen
  • bloating
  • fatigue or weakness
  • feeling “full”
  • fever
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • unexplained weight loss

Because these symptoms can indicate other illnesses, it’s important to talk with your physician if you experience these symptoms.

How is secondary liver cancer diagnosed?

If you have symptoms that suggest cancer, your physician will likely perform a physical exam (checking for jaundice or feeling the abdomen for fluid buildup, for example), as well as blood tests, imaging tests, such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and angiogram. He or she may also perform a biopsy to remove a small sample of the liver for further analysis.

How is secondary liver cancer treated?

Despite being in the liver, the cancer cells present will still mimic those found in the part of the body where they started, and they will be treated like cancer from that part of the body.

Valley Hospital is proud to offer the latest treatment options for secondary liver cancer, including minimally invasive surgery through its Institute for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery. For more information, call 201-447-8012.

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