What Are the Symptoms of the Final Stage of Liver Cancer?

Some symptoms of end-stage liver cancer include worsening jaundice, drowsiness and confusion, according to Merck Manuals. Fatigue, pain, changes in appetite and difficulty breathing are additional symptoms of end-state cancer, reports the American Cancer Society.

Liver cancer does not generally cause any initial symptoms or pain, explains MedicineNet. Pain in the right side of the abdomen may develop as the tumor increases in size. Other symptoms as the cancer progresses include jaundice, or yellowing skin and eyes, unexplained weight loss, swelling of the abdomen and feet, and decreased appetite.

Liver cancer may be localized in the liver, or in the case of metastatic liver cancer, it may have spread to the liver from other parts of the body, explains Merck Manuals. Because of the lack of initial symptoms, it is difficult for doctors to diagnose liver cancer in the early stages. Liver cancer is diagnosed with blood tests for liver function, CT and MRI scans, and liver biopsies.

Individuals diagnosed with cancer at any stage have a five-year survival rate of 15 percent, according to MedicineNet. If the cancer has spread to other organs, the survival rate decreases to 7 percent.

Treatment options for liver cancer include chemotherapy, liver transplantation and radiation therapy, states Merck Manuals. Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and herbs such as milk thistle may help support the liver and reduce cancer and treatment side effects, advises MedicineNet.