About the liver

Where is the liver?

The liver is found just below the right lung and is protected from injury by the lower ribs.

What does the liver do?

The liver is one of the most complex organs in the body. It’s like a “chemical factory” as it performs hundreds of tasks that are needed to keep the body healthy and alive. These include:

  • Fighting infection and disease
  • Removing poisons and drugs (including alcohol)
  • Cleaning the blood
  • Controlling the amount of cholesterol
  • Storing vitamins, minerals and sugar
  • Processing food once it has been digested
  • Helping to control blood clotting (thickening)
  • Releasing bile, a liquid that breaks down fats and helps digestion

Cancer of the liver can disrupt these functions or cause them to fail. If the liver is not working properly harmful substances can build up and cause problems. However, the liver is very good at repairing itself and can function normally with only a small part of it in working order.