How do you know if you have liver disease or cancer?

I used to drink quite a bit for the past 6 years and my diet has been poor (lots of carbs, meat but not much greens or fiber). I'm not overweight. I started getting pain under my right rib cage. Dull ache and felt swollen. All of my tests came back normal. Normal liver function, normal kidney. CT scans and ultrasound came back normal. Other than the dull ache and feeling of swelling I feel fine.

I'm scared I scarred my liver or did damage due to the alcohol, but the doctor said he doesn't think so. I basically cut back all drinking to a couple beers in the evening now and after three months the pain is getting better.

How do you know if you have a liver problem? I'm scared of cirhossis and possible cancer. Are there other indicators other than a biospy?

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MedGuy: Being scared isn't always a bad thing. It's motivated you, you seem to know that you should be taking better care of yourself and have an idea where to begin. It doesn't sound like you even have to quit drinking entirely, but don't abuse it. Start eating a better diet. I always recommend Dr. Sandra Cabot's book The Liver Cleansing Diet, If you just do a lot of what's in there it'll really help you. I'm sort of thinking that maybe your liver did give you little warning shot there and you should listen to your body.

Read up about liver decease so you can be an advocate for yourself, and the next time you see your doc. ask him "Just why are you so sure I don't have a Liver decease?" and if you're not satisfied with the answer ask him to do a test that will show more definition, but a CT scan and an ultra sound are pretty convincing. I don't think you should be too upset but you should keep an eye on this one. Liver decease doesn't usually give a little warning like that, most patients don't find out that they have Cirrhosis until it's well along.

Read old discussions on this site too. You'll learn a lot.

I hope it was just a warning and you don't really have a problem with your Liver.

Peace and Joy to All


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Hi tabbtech:

Thanks so much for the reply. I've been feeling better and the pain has been going away since I'm eating healthier and cut down on the drinking to just a few beers. Your response made me relax a little, which was really nice (I've been worried). Definitely going to take better care of myself.


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You're on the right track. I had 2nd stage liver disease and did not know it. I did have a lump on my stomach and we checked it out Ct, biopsies, chemo & shrunk it. The Doctors also discovered I was in 4th stage Cirrhosis with no symptoms. Got on the transplant list, and recevied a ful liver transplant. Bottom line, Stay alert, LIve healthy, check your body, listen to your body, consult with doctors and specialists, and get checked annually.

Merry Chrismas, and Happy Healty New Year!

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Glad to be a little help. thanks too Bo.


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Thanks Paul and Bo. Last question...all my tests showed normal. CT ultrasound and regular liver function ( I think it's ALT and ASLT?). Should I request a biopsy? I don't really want to have to go through that if I don't have to. The GE is well known from Jefferson and was thinking gall bladder or appendix, but everything keeps coming back normal. Should I request a biopsy? Or, do you think the other tests would have indicated something? Not sure what the diagnosis process entails. Thanks again.

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Take the lead from your doctor and specialist. If you have a nurse assigned to you, report any anonamaly to them. If pain persists, then by all means pursue it.

God Bless and stay well.

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Hi MedGuy- The liver is a non complaining organ and many times the pain on the right side (dull ache) can suggest the gallbladder may need some support. I totally agree with the advise on Dr. Sandra Cabot's book The Liver Cleanse Diet. I've used that style of eating with fantastic results from energy renewal, natural weightloss, improving hormonal imbalances and the biggest one liver function. The liver has so many jobs this style of eating is fantastic for everyone at any stage.

When the liver is compromised using nutrition consistently and making the lifestyle changes as best you can provides every system in the body with the raw materials it needs to repair, cleanse, and energize itself. The results from your doctors support (thankfully) learning some self care routines that will have a significant pay off. Please consider doing a liver cleanse it's a great move!

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Thanks so much liverfriendly. Others I've been asking have been saying the same thing that the dull ache is probably the gallbladder and the scans don't always show small defects or blockages/stones. I have to say the responses here really made me feel better and pointed me in directions when I had nowhere to go. Thanks so much!

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