Medica Superspecialty Hospital

Liver Cancer101

Almost all of us are aware of a certain organ that resides in our body. The organ that is the reason behind most of our body’s natural performance. It is our liver. It is the body’s largest internal organ and it’s located just below the right lung and diaphragm, under the right ribs (the membrane below the lungs that moves up and down as you breathe). The liver is responsible for a number of important functions. It absorbs and stores many of the nutrients from the gut, produces some of the clotting proteins needed to halt bleeding from a cut or injury, and secretes bile into the intestine to aid in nutrient absorption.

The liver is also responsible for eliminating harmful waste from the body.

And now we circle back to us, the keeper of this wonderful liver. We do not take the health of our liver seriously and that can come back to haunt us with illness and diseases of the organ that will not only be causing harm to the organ itself but us too. 

Our kind has been blessed with some enormous sources of talent. But some stars go out sooner than their time due to certain diseases that they have no control over. A certain rock musician, David Bowie comes to mind when we think about the repercussions of untimely illnesses. Bowie died of liver cancer in his New York City apartment on January 10, 2016. He was 69 and was diagnosed just 18 months prior to his demise. One may come to think that this man had lived his days, but he could have gone on to live a few more if he didn’t suffer from this type of cancer. Now this case is the same with most people who have been afflicted by liver cancer. And here is actually the scary bit, liver cancer actually can go undiagnosed for years. It isn’t until very late that people get to know that their liver is not okay. 

There is a lack of understanding of the disease, and far too many people are diagnosed too late. Raising awareness of liver cancer is critical for improving early detection and prognosis.

Here are 5 interesting facts about liver cancer that you may not know and that may help you to know:

Liver cirrhosis is the main cause of liver cancer most of the time.

  • Cirrhosis (liver scarring) is the leading cause of liver cancer, albeit only 3 to 4% of persons with the illness will go on to develop liver cancer.

Cirrhosis and certain causes of it have a particularly strong link. These are the following:

  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Alcoholism
  • Haemochromatosis which is a genetic condition characterized by an excess of iron in the body
  • NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is another growing problem.

In India, liver cancer is becoming one of the most rapidly spreading cancers.

  • In India, there are around 3-5 instances of liver cancer per 100,000 persons, resulting in 30,000 to 50,000 new cases per year. Given the high prevalence of Hepatitis B in this country, the number of liver cancer patients does not reflect the whole situation. Alcohol is a key contributor to primary liver cancer, in addition to the main culprits Hepatitis B or C. Diabetes is another key risk factor, with diabetics being two and a half times more likely to develop chronic liver disease (CLD), which can lead to liver cancer.

Liver cancer can be classified into four main types.

  • The most frequent type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (cancer that starts in the liver). HCC, also known as hepatoma, is identified in nine out of ten persons. Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is a rare type of primary liver cancer that usually affects younger people. The causes and risk factors are not known. Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is another type of primary liver cancer. It starts in the cells lining the bile duct. Angiosarcoma is a very rare type of liver cancer, which starts in the blood vessels of the liver.

Men are more likely to be affected than women.

  • Men are far more likely than women to get hepatocellular carcinoma. According to the data, the age-adjusted incidence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in India ranges from 0.7 to 7.5 per 100,000 population per year for men and 0.2 to 2.2 per 100,000 population per year for women. In India, the male-to-female ratio for HCC is 4:1. The presentation age ranges from 40 to 70 years old.

Liver transplant can be a possible cure if detected early.

  • If liver cancer is found early enough and the patient is healthy enough to tolerate surgery, liver transplantation may be an option. The surgery’s goal is to thoroughly eliminate the cancer. Only the generosity of donors ready to donate their organs makes the surgery possible.

Given all of the above, if you are suspecting liver cancer or anything similar, simply visit an expert or your general physician for suggestions. They will accordingly guide you to get proper treatment if so. In case of liver cancer or cancer, a doctor who is qualified will look into your diagnosis. These doctors are usually expert oncologists and oncosurgeons.

Medica’s Oncology department excels in providing world-class cancer treatment driven by their collective clinical excellence of over 30+ years. With a multidisciplinary approach to treating all types and forms of cancer, our oncologists and onco-surgeons are supported by the latest cancer treatment technologies along with a team of highly-skilled reconstructive surgeons who deliver extensive treatment to all of our patients, adults and children alike. 

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