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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant primary liver tumours. However, primary hepatic carcinomas are rare in young adults, accounting for approximately 1% of tumours in people below the age of 20. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are the two most important aetiological agents of HCC. The average age at onset of HBV-related HCC (~50 years old) is 10 years younger than that of HCV-related HCC (61-64 years). Evidence for an association between the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and development of HCC remains inconclusive. Here, we describe a case of a 28-year-old woman with normal background liver, who presented with a large palpable abdominal mass due to a bilobar, exophytic, cystic lesion arising from the right lobe of the liver, later diagnosed as HCC on histological analysis. We highlight the need for considering HCC even in the unusual setting of a cystic, exophytic lesion.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Case Rep

Publication Date





hepatic cancer, surgical oncology