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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Liver Cancer

Question: Scared; slightly elevated AFP

 dixieagle - Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:48 pm


I'm a 54 yr. old female, never smoked, slightly overweight. I have taken zocor for about 4 years, and 6 months ago had slightly elevated LFTs for the first time. My gastroenterologist did more bloodwork - still mildly elevated, though down some, and ordered a liver ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a slightly enlarged, fatty liver; no mention made of tumors or anything else. We are awaiting pre-certification for a CT scan.

The latest round of bloodwork showed my LFTs back to normal, but my AFP at 7, apparently 1 point higher than normal. The doctor said that my hepatitis panel indicated HBsAg negative, HBsAb positive, and HBcAb negative. I have never had hepatitis to my knowledge and have none of the risk factors at all, and don't even remember having had a vaccination. Today I had bloodwork done for what my doctor called "total" hepatitis, plus another AFP test.

I don't have symptoms, but am frankly terrified by that slightly elevated AFP (though I have seen somewhere else that less than 10 is "normal.) I am scared silly at the thought of liver cancer. Wouldn't it have shown up on the ultrasound? Thank you.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:53 pm

User avatar There are several causes of fatty liver. Some medications, excess alcohol ingestion, some forms of malnutrition and obesity are common causes.

Your hepatitis B labs indicate immunity to virus. This may be due to vaccination in the past, or possibly acute infection with the virus in the past that has since cleared.

There are many other viruses that can cause a hepatitis picture. Fatty liver can also elevate LFT's.

Alpha fetoprotein is associated with liver cancer but an elevation only one above normal is much less likely to be due to cancer than a very large elevation.

I recommend that you continue to follow up with your GI doctor to find the cause of your fatty liver and optimize treatment for you.

Best wishes.
 dixieagle - Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:27 pm

Thanks so much, Dr. Lowe. I have just received pre-certification for the CT scan and will have it tomorrow. You've helped put my mind at ease.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:53 pm

User avatar Glad to be of help. Best wishes for your tests tomorrow.

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