Liver Cancer

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Liver Cancer
4 Oct 2023
9 mins
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Liver Cancer

    You can be a victim of cancer or a survivor of cancer. It's a mindset.

     

    Today, we will discuss the most common and dangerous disease affecting our one-man army “liver". Liver cancer is the 6th most commonly affecting cancer worldwide, the 5th most common cancer in men, and the 9th most common cancer in women. We ensure proper protection against this killer disease. Let's know more about it!

     

    Know About Liver Cancer

     

    Your liver is placed on the right side of your abdomen which is crucial in removing the toxic substance from your body. When cancer cells develop in the liver tissue, it results in the cancer of the liver. Keep reading to know more about liver cancer!

     

    Types Of Liver Cancer

     

    It can be categorized into two: Primary and secondary liver cancer. Primary cancer starts where the cancer first develops, and secondary cancer is caused by the primary cancer cells breaking down from other parts of the body (metastasis). Primary liver cancer has five types which are given below:

    • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
    • Fibrolamellar carcinoma (FLC)
    • Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer)
    • Angiosarcoma
    • Hepatoblastoma

    Symptoms Of Liver Cancer

     

    Liver cancer may have symptoms, but some of them may not show any symptoms. The symptoms for both primary and secondary cancer are the same, which are given below:

    • Jaundice: Yellowish skin and eyes.
    • Abdominal Pain: Discomfort or pain in the right side of the upper abdomen.
    • Unexplained Weight Loss: Sudden and unexplained loss of weight in the body.
    • Fatigue: Continuous tiredness and weakness.
    • Loss of Appetite: Loss or decrease in appetite and feeling fullness.
    • Swelling: Abdominal swelling or accumulation of fluids (ascites).
    • Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting (sometimes blood vomiting).
    • Change in Stool Color: Light-colored or bloody stools.

     

    Causes Of Liver Cancer

     

    The causes of primary liver cancer is due to many reasons, but the cause of secondary liver cancer is unknown. Some of the causes for primary liver cancer are given below:

    • Being overweight (obesity)
    • Long-term hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infection.
    • Smoking cigarette
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Liver cirrhosis (damaged and scarred liver)
    • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (extra fat in the liver)
    • Diabetes
    • Hemochromatosis ( the body takes up and stores more iron than it needs)
    • Eating foods contains aflatoxin (a fungus that can grow on grains and nuts)

     

    Liver Cancer Treatment

     

    The treatment for liver cancer is determined by many factors, such as whether it's primary or secondary, the tumor's size and type, location and intensity of spreading, and the overall health of the patient. Early communication with your doctor is important for effective treatment and management of the disease. The treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, thermal ablation, targeted medicines, and radiotherapy.

     

    Surgery

     

    If it is detected in the starting stage, when it's small and not yet spread, surgery may be an option for removal. This includes a partial or complete removal of the liver, with a liver transplant being necessary if the entire organ is removed, and the recovery after the surgery always takes time. 

     

    Transplantation

     

    A liver transplant involves removal of  diseased or damaged liver and replacement with a healthy one (donar) and this is recommended for liver failure or end-stage patients. Unlike other organs (the kidney, heart, or lungs) there is no available device or machine (dialysis machine) that can effectively replicate the function of the liver. So transplantation is the only ray of hope for them.

     

    Chemotherapy

     

    Chemoembolization, a method of delivering chemotherapy medication directly into the cancer blood vessels to inhibit the growth of the cancer, is often used to shrink tumors, reduce symptoms, or manage situations where surgery is not feasible due to health concerns or tumor location.

     

    Thermal ablation

     

    Thermal ablation involves electric current or microwaves to destroy it, typically used when surgery is not a good choice for a patient's health.

     

    Target Therapy

     

    Target therapy is specifically designed to block the growth of the liver cancer. These medications are considered for the treatment in cases where surgery is not working due to the patient's poor health or if the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

     

    Radiotherapy

     

    Radiotherapy, a treatment employing radiation to kill the cancer cells. Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT), a specific form of radiotherapy, involves the injection of radioactive beads into the blood supply of the liver to destroy cancer growth. SIRT may be recommended for adult patients whose livers are not severely damaged, and surgery is not applicable.

     

    Liver Cancer Prevention Measures

     

    You can prevent or decrease your risk of developing liver cancer in an easy way, such as healthy lifestyle measures, regular exercise, maintaining your weight, eating a diet which is healthy for your body, and most importantly, avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption. It is also important to protect you from hepatitis B and C viruses by vaccination.

     

    Survival Rate

     

    Survival rate can give you a better idea of the percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer who are still alive in a certain time period (usually five years) after they were diagnosed. This survival can't tell you how long you will live, but it may help give you an understanding of the success of the treatment.

     

    Make a note that survival rates are estimates and are often based on past outcomes of a large group of the population who had a specific type of the disease. The survival rate for the five years is 33%, in which the people are diagnosed at an initial stage. Suppose it has already started affecting the surrounding tissues or organs, the survival rate for five years decreases to 11%, and it even falls to 2% if the cancer has spread to another body part.

     

    Let's Take A Pledge

     

    I hope this blog is helpful to know more about liver cancer and its symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention measures. It is a challenging disease that can have an intensive impact on the health and well-being of an individual. It always develops silently, with few noticeable symptoms in its starting stages, making early disease detection is crucial for effective treatment. Today, we pledge to rise against this deadly disease and increase the survival rate of liver cancer patients.

    Written by
    author
    Dr Archana GuptaBDS
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