What is Liver Cancer ?
Liver Cancer Definition :
Primary liver cancer is a condition or disease that happens when normal cells in the liver become abnormal in appearance and behavior.
The cancer cells can then become damaging to adjacent normal tissues, and can unfold both to different areas of the liver and to organs outside of the liver. cancer of the liver is also referred to as hepatic cancer.
Malignant or cancerous cells that develop within the normal cells of the liver (hepatocytes) are referred to as hepatocellular carcinoma.
Cancer that arises within the ducts of the liver is termed as cholangiocarcinoma.
Signs and Symptoms Of Liver Cancer
Liver cancer causes no symptoms of its own. because the tumor grows, it should cause symptoms of pain on the right side of the abdomen or feel too full after eating a bit.
Some patients could have to worsening of symptoms of chronic liver disease or cirrhosis, which frequently precedes the development of cancer of the liver.
for instance, patients could complain of :
⇒ Upper abdominal pain on the right side
What is the Causes Of Liver Cancer ?
It’s not clear what causes most cases of liver cancer. however, in some cases, the cause is known. for example, chronic infection with certain hepatitis viruses will cause liver cancer.
The cause of liver cancer is the change(mutations) in DNA of Liver cells— (DNA) the material that has instructions for each action in your body.
DNA mutations cause changes in these instructions. One result is that cells could begin to grow out of control and eventually form a tumor — a mass of cancerous cells.
Anabolic steroids – utilized by athletes and weightlifters. These male hormones, if used frequently and for long enough, will raise the danger of developing liver cancer, as well as some other cancers.
Aflatoxins – a substance created by a flora and should be found in moldy wheat, groundnuts, corn, nuts, soybeans, and peanuts. For liver cancer risk to extend there must be long-term exposure. this is more of a problem in less wealthy countries.
Cirrhosis – once liver cells are damaged and replaced with scar tissue. people with cirrhosis of the liver have a higher risk of developing liver cancer.
Diabetes – patients with diabetes, particularly if they even have hepatitis, or frequently consume lots of alcohol, are more probably to develop liver cancer.
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Family history – individuals whose mother, father, brother, or sister had liver cancer are at a higher risk of developing it themselves, compared to others.
L-carnitine deficiency – studies recommend that an L-carnitine deficiency will increase the danger of developing liver cancer.
Liver disease and inherited liver disease – individuals with hepatitis B or C have a considerably higher risk of developing liver cancer, compared to other healthy people.
According to the American Cancer Society, hepatitis C is the most common reason for liver cancer in the USA.
The Society mentions that some inherited liver diseases also increase the risk of liver cancer.
Low immunity – individuals with weakened immune systems, like those with HIV/AIDS have a risk of liver cancer that is 5 times larger than other healthy people.
Obesity – obesity raises the chance of developing many cancers, together with liver cancer.
Gender – a better percentage of males get liver cancer compared to females. Some specialists believe this is not due to gender, however to lifestyle characteristics. On average, males tend to smoke and abuse alcohol more than females.
Smoking – people with hepatitis B or C have a higher risk of liver cancer if they smoke.
Water wells with arsenic – people who rely on water wells that contain arsenic could eventually have a considerably higher risk of developing many conditions or diseases, together with liver cancer.
Liver Cancer Diagnosis
HCC screening – high risk people for HCC ought to have regular screenings for liver cancer. liver cancer, if not diagnosed early is much tougher to remove.
the only way to recognize whether you’ve got liver cancer timely is through screening, because symptoms are either slight or nonexistent.
Individuals with High-risk like the patient who suffers from hepatitis C and B, or patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis, other alcohol abusers, and people that have cirrhosis as a result of hemochromatosis.
Diagnostic tests for liver cancer include :
Blood test – AFP (alpha-fetoprotein), a kind of protein, is created by liver tumors and can be detected in a blood test
Imaging scans – either an MRI or CT scan
Biopsy – a little sample of tumor tissue is removed and analyzed. The analysis will reveal whether the tumor is cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign).
Liver Cancer Staging
The stages of cancer are used to determine how widespread it is. The stage of a liver cancer is one of the most vital factors in considering treatment options.
A staging system is a standard method for the cancer care team to add up information regarding how far the cancer has spread.
Doctors use staging systems to urge an idea about a patient’s prognosis (outlook) and to assist determine the most appropriate treatment.
There are many staging systems for liver cancer, and not all doctors use the same system.
Liver cancer diagnosis, facilitate in classifying liver cancer stages as per the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system, the Barcelona Clinic liver cancer (BCLC) staging system, the Cancer of the Liver Italian Program (CLIP) system, or the Okuda system.
Liver Cancer SAlso Read :tages :
Stage 1 – the tumor is just in/on the liver and nowhere else
Stage 2 – either there are many tiny tumors, but all within the liver, or one tumor that has reached a blood vessel
Stage 3 – either there are numerous giant tumors, or there’s only 1 that has reached the main blood vessel(s). Cancer could have also reached to the gallbladder.
Stage 4 – metastasis. The cancer of the liver has spread to other parts of the body.
Liver Cancer Treatment
The treatment for liver cancer is depends upon how much cancer has spread and the general health of the liver. as an example, the extent of cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver will confirm the treatment options for cancer.
Similarly, the spread and extent of spread of cancer on the far side the liver tissue play a vital part in the types of treatment options which will be best.
Surgery: it will be treated sometimes with surgery to remove the part of a liver with cancer. Surgical choices are reserved for the smaller sizes of cancer tumors.
Complications from surgery could include harm (which may be severe), infection, pneumonia, or side effects of anesthesia.
Liver transplant: The doctor replaces the cancerous liver with a healthy liver from another person. it’s sometimes used in very little unresectable (inoperable or unable to be removed) liver tumors in patients with advanced cirrhosis.
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Liver transplantation surgery could have the same complications as noted above for surgery. Also, complications from medications associated with a liver transplant could include possible rejection of the liver transplant, infection because of suppression of the immune system, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, weakening of the kidneys and bones, and a rise in body hair.
Ablation therapy: this can be a procedure that may kill cancer cells in the liver without any surgery. The doctor will kill cancer cells using heat, laser, or by injecting a special alcohol or acid directly into cancer.
this system also may be utilized in palliative care when the cancer is unresectable.
Embolization: blocking the blood supply to cancer will be done using a procedure known as embolization.
this system uses a catheter to inject particles or beads that may block blood vessels that feed cancer. Starving the cancer of the blood provide prevents the expansion of cancer.
once this system uses chemotherapy and synthetic material, it’s sometimes known as chemoembolization, because it blocks off the blood supply and traps the chemotherapy agent in a tumor. this system is usually used on patients with giant liver cancer for palliation.
Complications of embolization include fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Radiation therapy: Radiation uses high-energy rays directed to cancer to kill cancer cells. normal liver cells also are very sensitive to radiation.
Complications of radiation therapy include skin irritation near the treatment site, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
Chemotherapy: chemotherapy uses a medication that kills cancer cells. the drugs can be given orally or by injecting it into a vein or artery feeding the liver.
individuals will have a variety of side effects from chemotherapy, depending on the medications used and the patient’s individual response.
Complications of chemotherapy include fatigue, easy bruising, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, swollen legs, diarrhea, and mouth sores. These side effects are sometimes temporary.
Targeted agent: Sorafenib (Nexavar) is an oral medication that may prolong survival (up to a few months) in patients with advanced liver cancer.
side effects of sorafenib (Nexavar) include fatigue, rash, high blood pressure, sores on the hands and feet, and loss of appetite.
Clinical trial: A trial may be a way to receive specific treatments in a carefully controlled way to determine whether a new medical care approach is safe, effective, and better than existing therapies. a new treatment is also a drug, a device, a unique way to do a surgery, a mixture of 2 or more medication, or methods of treatment or even diet.
The government maintains a website at ClinicalTrials.gov where more information on trials associated with liver cancer will be found.
The analysis from clinical trials, together with the statistics supporting the effectiveness of the intervention being tested, is vital in the introduction of latest treatment methods and ways to change the quality of treatment for all types of liver cancer.
Liver Cancer Life Expectancy By Stages
The data below is taken from official website of American cancer society and are based on patients who diagnosed with liver cancer between 2005 and 2011.
Survival Rate of Stage 1 & 2 – The 5-year relative survival rate for people with stage 1 and 2 liver cancer is about 31%.
Survival Rate of Stage 3 – The 5-year survival rate is about 11%.
Survival Rate of Stage 4 – The 5-year relative survival rate for people with stage 4 liver cancer is about 3%.
Regardless of the stage, survival rates are higher for people who can have surgery to remove their cancer.
for example, studies have shown that patients with tiny, resectable tumors who don’t have cirrhosis or other serious health issues are possible to do well if their cancers are removed. Their overall 5-year survival is over 50%.
For people who have a liver transplant in their early-stage liver cancers, the 5-year survival rate is in the range of 60 % to 70 %.