October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month. It offers special opportunities to recognize and support people affected by liver cancer.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 25,000 men and 11,000 women get liver cancer each year in the United States. This potentially fatal condition can affect not just people who receive a diagnosis but also their family and friends.

While individuals with liver cancer need support year-round, October has been designated Liver Cancer Awareness Month. It gives people affected by liver cancer a chance to spread knowledge about the condition and raise funds to find a cure.

Cancer happens when atypical cells in the body grow and divide uncontrollably. Liver cancer means that cancer cells are present in the liver. The liver is a large organ that sits on the right side of the stomach. It helps with digestion and the removal of toxins.

Liver cancer can be either primary or secondary. Primary liver cancer means that the cancer started in the liver. Secondary liver cancer is cancer that has spread from another part of the body to the liver.

The risk of developing liver cancer can be increased by:

You can participate and show your support for those affected by liver cancer during the month of October by:

  • donating to an organization like the National Foundation for Cancer Research or participating in an activity to raise money, such as planning a bake sale or running in a race that aims to spread awareness
  • wearing an emerald or jade green ribbon
  • volunteering at your local hospital or cancer treatment center
  • researching living organ donation of the liver
  • using hashtags like #LiverCancerAwarnessMonth, #LiverCancer, #HepatocellularCarcinoma, and #OctoberIs4Livers to increase awareness and draw attention to any social media posts you make about liver cancer

Facts and stats about liver cancer

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Some common symptoms of liver cancer include:

These symptoms can be caused by other health conditions as well, so it’s important to talk with your doctor or healthcare professional to determine the cause. It’s also possible that you may not experience any of these symptoms in the early stages of liver cancer.

There are several different types of liver cancer.

Hepatocellular carcinoma

Most adults with liver cancer have hepatocellular carcinoma.

This type of cancer can have two different growth patterns. It may be one tumor that continues to grow larger over time. Or, as is more commonly seen, there may be many small areas of cancer throughout the liver.

Fibrolamellar is a subtype of hepatocellular carcinoma that makes up less than 1% of liver cancers. However, because it is more common in younger individuals with otherwise healthy livers, it’s important to keep an eye out for this subtype.


Cholangiocarcinoma is also sometimes called bile duct cancer. This is a rare condition where cancer forms in the bile ducts.

There are two types of cholangiocarcinoma: cancer formed in the bile ducts inside the liver (intrahepatic) and cancer formed in the bile ducts outside the liver (extrahepatic).

Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma

Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma are rare types of liver cancers that begin in the cells lining the blood vessels of the liver.

They may be caused by exposure to arsenic or radium. They may also be caused by hereditary hemochromatosis, an inherited condition. They typically grow quickly and are very hard to treat.

Many factors can influence how serious liver cancer is, including:

  • where it is in the liver
  • whether it has spread to other parts of the body
  • your general health

Of individuals whose cancer has not spread, 34% live more than 5 years, according to the National Foundation for Cancer Research. When the cancer has spread to lymph nodes and other areas of the body, 12% of individuals live more than 5 years.

Liver cancer is a potentially fatal condition. It’s important to speak with your doctor if you believe you have symptoms of it or are concerned about related risk factors.

If you or someone you know has liver cancer, bringing recognition to this condition may seem especially important. October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month, which brings extra opportunities to share information or show support for those affected by liver cancer.