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What is Liver Cancer?

Cancer that starts in the cells of your liver is known as liver cancer. Our liver is a large organ that sits in the upper right part of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above your stomach.

The liver can develop a variety of cancers. The spread of cancer to the liver is more common than cancer that starts in the liver cells. Metastatic cancer, rather than liver cancer, is cancer that starts in another part of the body, such as the colon, lung, or breast, and then spreads to the liver. Metastatic colon cancer, for example, is a kind of cancer that starts in the colon and spreads to the liver.

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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Types

The numerous cells that make up the liver give rise to the many forms of primary liver cancer. Primary liver cancer can begin as a single lump in the liver, or it can begin in multiple locations throughout the liver at the same time.

Multiple cancer growth sites are more likely in people with substantial liver impairment. The following are the most common kinds of primary liver cancer:

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

The hepatocytes, which make up the majority of the liver cells, develop this disease. It can extend from the liver to the pancreas, intestines, and stomach, among other organs. It is the most common kind of liver cancer, accounting for around 75% of all cases. People with substantial liver impairment from alcohol misuse are much more prone to develop HCC.

Cholangiocarcinoma

Cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the liver’s tiny, tube-like bile ducts. These ducts transport bile from the liver to the gallbladder, which aids digestion. Bile duct cancer accounts for between 10% to 20% of all liver cancers.

Liver Angiosarcoma

Liver angiosarcoma is an uncommon type of liver cancer that starts in the liver’s blood vessels. Because this sort of cancer progresses so swiftly, it’s usually detected at a later stage.

Hepatoblastoma

This is a kind of liver cancer that is extremely rare. It’s almost always detected in children, particularly those under the age of three.

Symptoms

In the early stages of primary liver cancer, most persons show no signs or symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they could include the following:

  • Weight loss without effort
  • Appetite loss
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Weakness and tiredness in general
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Your skin and the whites of your eyes have a yellow hue (jaundice)
  • Stools that are white and chalky
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Causes

In some cases, such as with chronic hepatitis infections, the cause of liver cancer is known. However, liver cancer can occur in persons who have no underlying illnesses, and the reason remains unknown.

Other Risk Factors

  • Cirrhosis: This chronic and irreversible disorder causes scar tissue to accumulate in the liver, increasing the risk of liver cancer.
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol every day for a long time will damage your liver irreversibly and raise your chance of liver cancer.
  • Hepatitis B or C Virus Infection: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection raises the risk of liver cancer.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes have a higher risk of liver cancer than people who do not have diabetes.
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: The risk of liver cancer is increased when fat accumulates in the liver.
  • Hereditary Disorders: Hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease are two liver illnesses that can raise the risk of liver cancer.
  • Exposure to Aflatoxins: Molds create aflatoxins, which are poisons that grow on crops that have been improperly stored. Aflatoxin contamination can occur in crops such as grains and nuts, which can then wind up in foods manufactured from these goods.
Liver Cancer Alcohol

Alcohol

Liver Cancer Cirriosis

Cirriosis

Liver Cancer Diabetes

Diabetes

Liver Cancer Fatty Liver

Fatty Liver

Liver Cancer Hepatitis

Hepatitis

Liver Cancer Hereditary

Hereditary

Stages

The doctor utilizes a technique known as staging to provide a number to the cancer diagnosis, which ranges from I to IV. The higher the number, the greater the danger of cancer spreading. Cancers are also defined by their treatment options, most notably whether or not they can be surgically removed.

The stages of liver cancer are as follows:

Stage I: Only one tumor has been discovered in the liver.

Stage II: There is only one tumor, but it has progressed to the blood vessels, or there are multiple tumors, but they are all smaller than 3 cm.

Stage III: There are many tumors in Stage III liver cancer, at least one of which is larger than 5 cm, or the cancer has spread beyond the liver to large blood arteries, another organ, or lymph nodes.

Stage IV: Other parts of the body, such as the lungs and bones, as well as lymph nodes, have been affected by the malignancy.

Diagnosis

The following tests and methods are used to diagnose liver cancer:

Blood Test: Abnormalities in liver function may be discovered through blood testing.

Imaging Test: An ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may be recommended by your doctor.

Biopsy: A sample of liver tissue is removed for testing. In order to make a definitive diagnosis of liver cancer, it may be required to remove a portion of liver tissue for laboratory testing. Your doctor takes a tissue sample from your liver by inserting a thin needle through your skin and into your liver.

Doctors analyze the tissue under a microscope in the lab to check for cancer cells. Bleeding, bruising, and infection are all possible side effects of a liver biopsy.

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Treatment

The degree (stage) of primary liver cancer, as well as your age, overall health, and personal preferences, all influence treatment options.

Surgery: As per the stage of your ailment, the doctor will suggest to either remove your tumor or advise for a liver transplant if the damage to your liver has been extensive.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of chemicals to kill or prevent cancer cells from replicating. Chemotherapy can have a systemic effect (pills or injections that travel through the entire body).

Targeted Therapy: Drugs that target cancer genes or tissues are referred to as targeted therapy. Chemotherapy is not the same as targeted therapy.

Immunotherapy: Drugs that guide the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells are known as immunotherapy. It, too, is not the same as chemotherapy.

Ablation Therapy: This treatment is a technique for destroying malignancies in the liver without removing them. Cryoablation, microwave ablation, radiofrequency ablation, and ethanol ablation are just a few options.

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