What Is Liver Cancer?

The liver is an organ located in the upper-right part of your abdomen. It is a vital part of the body and performs many functions, including:

  • Filters all of the blood from the stomach, intestines and spleen
  • Produces bile, which helps the body absorb fat
  • Removes toxins from the blood, including medication
  • Regulates blood sugar and stores extra blood sugar
  • Aids in digestion
  • Stores vitamins and minerals
  • Regulates other organs, like the kidneys
  • Is part of the body's immune system
  • Regulates production and removal of cholesterol
  • Produces proteins and blood-clotting factors

Liver cancer occurs when cancer cells grow in the liver. Other cancers may spread to the liver, but liver cancer means the cancer originated in the liver. The most common form of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which accounts for four out of five liver cancers. Other types of liver cancer include:

  • Cholangiocarcinoma (accounts for 10 to 20 percent of all liver cancers)
  • Mixed hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma
  • Hepatoblastoma (rare cancer usually found in children)
  • Angiosarcoma
  • Hemangioendothelioma

Related Resources

Liver Cancer Treatment Guide