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Death of David Bowie sheds light on liver cancer

In news that shocked the world, music industry legend David Bowie died on January 10. Bowie apparently kept his illness, liver cancer, a secret to all but his closest friends and family, and continued to be active during his struggle with the disease, even releasing an album on his birthday the week before his death.

What makes his death especially haunting to many are hints he may have suggested in songs on his final album, including lyrics from his first single, "Lazarus," stating, "Look up here, I'm in heaven. I've got scars that can't be seen." The music video shows him in a hospital bed while singing.

The liver is located under your right lung and is divided into a right and left lobe. Its purpose is to break down and store nutrients absorbed from the intestine. Other nutrients are metabolized by the liver to be used by the rest of the body. It also is used to help clot blood in the event of a cut or injury and helps break down toxic waste found in the blood. The liver secretes bile into the intestines to absorb nutrients such as fats.

When abnormal cells in the liver grow out of control, it may become cancer, affecting the liver's functions and causing severe disabilities to a person and if untreated or discovered too late, death. Cancer is among the listed illnesses covered by Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. If you are suffering from cancer or another debilitating disease preventing you from work, you may be eligible.

Source: American Cancer Society, "What is liver cancer?" Accessed on Jan. 19, 2016

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