Liver cancer is a malignancy that affects the cells of the liver, the body’s biggest organ. In Australia, it is the sixteenth most prevalent kind of cancer. Despite the fact that it is Australia’s seventh highest cause of cancer death, it is quite uncommon. Patients with liver cancer may benefit from improved therapy.
The liver is located on the right side of the abdomen, just beneath the ribs. It produces bile and blood proteins, filters the blood, removes toxic compounds from the body, and performs other essential duties.
The different sorts of liver cancer are primary and secondary. Primary cancer begins in the liver, while secondary cancer begins elsewhere in the body and spreads to the liver. HealthoWealth has in this article, provided you with every information you need on liver cancer.
Primary liver cancer
Hepatoma or hepatocellular cancer is the most common type of primary liver cancer. This starts with the hepatocyte, which is the most common form of liver cell.
Cancer might commence in a single cell and spread throughout the liver, or it can originate in a variety of cells.
- Cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer, is a kind of primary liver cancer that begins in the cells that line the bile ducts.
- Angiosarcoma is a scarce type of liver cancer that develops in the blood vessels.
Primary liver cancer can metastasize or spread to other parts of the body if it is not detected early or if therapy is ineffective.
Secondary cancer in the liver
The majority of cancers that infect the liver have progressed throughout the body. Secondaries are what they’re called. These secondary tumours are named for the bodily part where they first appeared. Cancers of the colon, breast, ovary, and lung, as well as melanomas, can all spread to the liver.
What are the symptoms of liver cancer?
People frequently do not realize they have liver cancer until it has progressed. Liver cancer symptoms are as follows:
- Feeling very weak and tired
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in your upper right abdomen
- A lump on the right side of the stomach, below the rib cage
- Agony in the right shoulder or the upper back, around the right shoulder blade
- Swelling of the abdomen (ascites)
- Yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Pale, chalky bowel motions
What causes cancer of the liver?
Primary liver cancer is often not known by doctors. If you have a persistent hepatitis B or C infection that has produced permanent scarring or damage to your liver, known as cirrhosis, your chances of developing primary liver cancer are considerably enhanced.
You’re also more likely than others to acquire primary liver cancer if you:
- have scarring of, or injury to, the liver
- drink a lot of alcohol
- have certain inherited diseases, such as hemochromatosis or Wilson’s disease
- have autoimmune disorders that damage the liver.
- have type 2 diabetes
- have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- have obesity
- have been exposed to some chemicals
How is liver cancer detected and diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a medical examination and inquire about your physical symptoms. If you have a chance of having liver cancer, you may need testing such as blood tests and imaging (such as MRI or CT scans, or a PET-CT scan). A biopsy may be performed to obtain a sample of liver tissue for testing. Under local anaesthetic, this is done with a thin needle.
If you have secondary liver cancer, you may need additional testing to determine the location of the primary disease.
If you have been diagnosed with liver cancer, you will most likely be directed to a gastroenterologist, surgeon, or oncologist. Additional checks to establish the stage of your cancer may be necessary.
What is the treatment for liver cancer?
Your liver cancer therapy will most likely be coordinated by a group of medical specialists, nurses, and other health professionals.
Treatment options will be determined by the stage of your cancer, as well as your overall health, medical history, age, and personal preferences.
A mix of therapy is frequently employed. Treatment options include heating or freezing (ablation) to eliminate or halt the growth of cancer, or surgery to remove the tumour. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also halt or stop the progression of cancer.
Small primary tumours are treated with radiofrequency ablation. The doctor employs microwaves and high-frequency radio waves. The current is used to produce heat through thin needles put into the tumour. Cancer cells are destroyed by heat.
A doctor may use a specific probe to penetrate the tumour and release liquid nitrogen to freeze it (called cryotherapy). To destroy cancer cells, pure alcohol can also be administered.
If surgery is not an option, your doctor may recommend selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT or radioembolization). The doctor injects small radioactive beads (microspheres) into the liver through a narrow tube put into an artery. These beads cut off the tumour’s supply of blood and provide high-dose radiation.
TACE and Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a treatment that employs medications to halt or stop the progression of cancer. Chemotherapy may be delivered through a vein to treat your entire body if your liver cancer has progressed or you have secondary malignancy. Healthy cells are also impacted.
If you have primary cancer, you can be administered TACE, a more focused type of chemotherapy. A tube is inserted into an artery supplying the liver by the doctor to provide a concentrated dose of anti-tumour medications. A chemical is also utilized to partially block the artery, denying cancer cells oxygen and nutrients.
Only a single tumour that has not developed into blood vessels is eligible for surgery. The sort of surgery required will be determined by the size and location of cancer in the liver.
Small primary tumours are typically removed with surgery. Partial hepatectomy is an operation in which a section of the liver is removed. Even if up to 80% of the liver has been surgically removed, it can still function well. It has an extraordinary ability to recuperate and develop following surgery.
You may be given a liver transplant if your entire liver needs to be removed. Because finding a suitable donor liver can take months or years, you will need to continue your cancer therapy.
Treatments exist that either inhibit cancer cells from growing or functioning or assist the body’s immune system in destroying them. Both primary and secondary liver cancers can benefit from biological therapy.
Endoscopic stent placement
If bile has accumulated in the liver as a result of the tumour blocking a bile duct, a thin tube (stent) may be inserted in the liver to drain the bile.
If you have advanced or late-stage liver cancer, palliative treatment may be better than attempting to cure the disease. This can help you feel better by reducing your symptoms, relieving discomfort, and improving your overall quality of life.
Take care of yourself!
If you have liver cancer, strive to eat well and stay active during your treatment. Remedial massage and other complementary therapy may help. Relaxation practices might help you feel less anxious and happier.
Discuss the benefits and hazards of any therapy before agreeing to them. Prepare to seek a second opinion from a specialist or physician.
Is it possible to prevent liver cancer?
Avoiding hepatitis B or C is one method to avoid liver cancer. Hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccine. If you have intercourse with someone who has hepatitis or exchange needles with someone who has hepatitis, you should get tested to ensure you are not infected.
If you have hepatitis B or C, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines to help you fight the virus and lower your chances of developing liver cancer. To spot problems early, your doctor may monitor you on a regular basis.
If, after reading the article “What is liver cancer? “, you liked it and became interested in studying in other fields of health and medicine, we suggest you read the following articles from the category cancer on our website.
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- Cancer biology precisely
- Hidden cancer symptoms
- Bone marrow cancer