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What do spots on the liver mean?

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Quick Answer

Spots on the liver can be a sign of liver cancer, though it is also possible to have spots that are not indications of cancer, reports the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Spots on the liver that are there because of cancer tend to be small.

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In order to find these small cancerous spots on the liver, doctors use imaging machines such as triple phase CT scanning machines, according to MD Anderson Cancer Center. To diagnose liver cancer, doctors can also perform a variety of tests that look at the spleen and other organs residing near the liver. Doctors typically order blood tests, additional imaging tests such as ultrasounds and angiograms, and may also order a biopsy. All of these tests help a doctor determine the stage of liver cancer present in the body.

The first stage of liver cancer consists of a single tumor without the cancer spreading to any blood vessels, reports MD Anderson Cancer Center. Stage II consists of either multiple tumors or one tumor with nearby blood vessels impacted. The tumors in this stage must be smaller than 5 centimeters in size. Stage III is split into three stages: A, B and C. These stages look for multiple tumors and vary depending on where the cancer has spread. The final stage is Stage IV. In Stage IV, the liver cancer has spread throughout the body to the lungs or bones, as well as to the blood vessels or lymph nodes.

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