An average adult liver is relative in size to a standard football and sits on top of the stomach and underneath the diaphragm and is responsible for breaking down toxins in the blood. Multiple forms of cancer can develop in an individual's liver. Hepatocellular carcinoma starts in the primary type of liver cell called a hepatocyte. Less common forms of liver cancer include hepatoblastoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Secondary liver cancer or cancer in another part of the body that spreads to the liver is more common than cancer that primarily develops in the liver. A liver cancer diagnosis can be made using ultrasound, MRIs, CT scans, blood tests, and liver tissue biopsy.
Jaundice is a condition where an individual's skin or the white part of their eyes turn yellow. Bilirubin is a resulting compound of the process of red blood cell breakdown. When bilirubin is broken down by the liver, it produces a compound called urobilin with a potent yellow pigment. Urobilin is excreted from the body through the urine and gives it the yellow coloring. Bilirubin is also responsible for the yellowing that occurs in the last stages of the bruise healing process.
Bilirubin in healthy individuals is removed through the stool and the urine after being processed in the liver. The cells that make up a cancerous tumor in the liver can eventually crowd out and replace the healthy, functional liver cells. Malignant tumors also cause liver tissues to become damaged, producing cirrhosis. Rarely, a tumor can grow into or large enough to obstruct the flow of bile from the liver into the small intestine. It is a combination of these factors that results in the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood that leeches into the skin and white of the eye.