Fatigue and confusion
Extreme tiredness (fatigue) is a common side effect of liver cancer and its treatment. Confusion may also occur, but this is a rare side effect.
Many people with primary liver cancer experience fatigue. This is different to normal tiredness as it doesn’t always go away with rest or sleep. The fatigue may be a side effect of treatment or caused by the cancer itself. Managing fatigue is an important part of cancer care.
For more on this, see Fatigue and cancer or listen to the podcast below.
Chronic liver disease may cause toxic substances to build up in the blood, which can affect how your brain functions. Called hepatic encephalopathy, it can lead to confusion or disorientation and, in severe cases, coma. Carers need to look out for these symptoms as this condition can develop quickly. Hepatic encephalopathy can be controlled with medicines.
Podcast: Managing Cancer Fatigue
A/Prof Simone Strasser, Hepatologist, AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and The University of Sydney, NSW; A/Prof Siddhartha Baxi, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare, Gold Coast, QLD; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, NSLHD Supportive and Palliative Care Network, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Anne Dowling, Hepatoma Clinical Nurse Consultant and Liver Transplant Coordinator, Austin Health, VIC; A/Prof Koroush Haghighi, Liver, Pancreas and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon, Prince of Wales and St Vincent’s Hospitals, NSW; Karen Hall, 131120 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Brett Knowles, Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary and General Surgeon, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and St Vincent’s Hospital, VIC; Lina Sharma, Consumer; David Thomas, Consumer; Clinical A/Prof Michael Wallace, Department of Hepatology and Western Australian Liver Transplant Service, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Medical School, The University of Western Australia, WA; Prof Desmond Yip, Clinical Director, Department of Medical Oncology, The Canberra Hospital, ACT.
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