Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer
Liver cirrhosis is a serious condition which causes scar tissue to replace healthy liver tissue.
Sometimes cirrhosis is the result of damage caused by alcoholism or chronic hepatitis infections.
What Is Liver Cirrhosis?
The scarring process of cirrhosis is gradual, but once scar tissue replaces your liver cells, the process is irreversible.
The scarred liver tissue affects the liver’s natural structure and also affects its future regrowth. Eventually, liver cells die.
Your liver will eventually lose its ability to function well. Blood flow also becomes obstructed, forcing blood back into the liver, a condition called portal hypertension.
In its early stages, cirrhosis has no symptoms. At least 40 percent of people do not experience symptoms, according to a 2006 report in American Family Physician.
Once the liver damage is extensive, you will start to notice symptoms.
Symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite, weight loss, and nausea
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Itchy skin and/or spider-like blood vessels on the skin
- Jaundice (yellow discoloration of eyes and skin)
- Ascites (fluid in the abdomen)
- Testicle shrinkage and/or breast enlargement in men
- Confusion, drowsiness, memory loss, and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
You should see your doctor as soon as notice any of the symptoms listed above.
Next page: learn about the causes and risks of liver cancer as well as possible treatment methods.