Everything You Need To Know About Liver Cancer

One of the vital parts of the human body, the liver, is responsible for many metabolic reactions that let the body work properly, like keeping the body free of toxins and producing bile to help digestion of vitamins and other nutrients.

But sometimes, when cancer develops in the liver, it destroys liver cells and their ability to function, known as liver cancer. As per spreading, liver cancer can be classified as primary and secondary. In primary where cancer begins in liver cells. In secondary, it starts spreading to other organs.

This article focuses only on primary liver cancer and will help you to know everything about it.

Let’s start with the symptoms.

Symptoms of liver cancer-

In primary liver cancer, many people don’t feel the symptoms in the early stage, but those who do may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • White, chalky stools
  • Abdominal pain, tenderness, and discomfort
  • Bruising or bleeding easily

Differentiating primary liver cancer-

Primary liver cancer can be differentiated as per the origin.

  1. Hepatocellular carcinoma-
  2. One of the most common types of liver cancer holds 75% of all other liver cancers. In addition, HCC can spread from other parts such as the stomach, intestines, and pancreas.

    Cause- Alcohol abuse

  3. Cholangiocarcinoma-Known, like bile duct cancer, develops tube-like bile ducts in the liver. However, its presence in the liver differs in two parts:
  4. ● intrahepatic bile duct cancer
    ● extrahepatic bile duct cancer.

    It holds 10 to 20% of all liver cancer.

  5. Liver angiosarcoma- Rare liver cancer begins in liver blood vessels, progresses quickly, and develops advanced.
  6. Hepatoblastoma- This type of primary liver cancer occurs in children and is extremely rare. Generally present under the age of 3. This liver cancer shows a good outlook in surgery and chemotherapy with a survival rate of 90%.

Who is at the higher risk of liver cancer?

There is no such clarity on why some people develop liver cancer more than others. However, certain factors are responsible for developing it.

  1. Age- Liver cancer is more common at an average of 50.
  2. Long-term hepatitis B or C infection- One of the inter-spreading liver cancer develops due to damage in your liver. It may spread to other people through blood, sex, and genetics.
  3. Alcohol- One of the most common reasons for liver cancer. Regular intake of alcoholic beverages increases the risk of liver cancer.
  4. Cirrhosis- A form of liver damage developed due to long-term alcohol abuse and hepatitis C. In this initial cancer stage, healthy tissues are replaced by blemish tissues.
  5. Diabetes & obesity- Both factors cause liver problems and may increase the risk of liver cancer.
  6. Aflatoxin- This cancer may occur due to mold growth on peanuts, grains, and corn.

How to diagnose liver cancer?

The diagnosis of liver cancer begins with a physical examination and medical history. In addition, make sure you tell your doctor about any long-term alcohol history or hepatitis infections.

Here are some procedures:

  • Measuring of proteins, liver enzymes, and bilirubin in the blood
  • Test for the presence of AFP (Alpha-fetoprotein) in blood.
  • MRI or CT scans of Abdominal for tumor determination.
  • Liver biopsy to remove small pieces of liver for testing them for a liver infection.

Treatments of liver cancer-

After a diagnosis of liver cancer, doctors may analyze the size, number, location of the tumor. They will also look for liver functioning and spreading of cancer and then decide on any treatment.

Here are some of them:

  • Hepatectomy
  • Liver transplant
  • Ablation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Targeted therapy

Preventions of liver cancer-

One can’t always prevent liver cancer, but you can reduce the risk of liver cancer by developing some habits or conditions.

  • Get the hepatitis B vaccine
  • Take measures to prevent hepatitis C
  • Test newborn, in case of any family history of liver cancer
  • Use protection during sex
  • don’t use illegal drugs
  • Control alcohol intake
  • Maintain healthy weight

In a nutshell

Liver cancer can be brutal like other cancers that lead from affecting liver cells and the complete body ultimately. Make sure you take mentioned precautions and consult a cancer specialist in case of any signs. However, if you face it, look for the stress and anxiety you could face during the treatment.

Till then, be strong, take care and smile real.

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors