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Liver Cancer

Also called: Hepatocellular carcinoma

Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Primary liver cancer starts in the liver. Metastatic liver cancer starts somewhere else and spreads to your liver.

Risk factors for primary liver cancer include

Symptoms can include a lump or pain on the right side of your abdomen and yellowing of the skin. However, you may not have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. This makes it harder to treat. Doctors use tests that examine the liver and the blood to diagnose liver cancer. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or liver transplantation.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Symptoms of Liver Cancer

The following features are indicative of Liver Cancer:
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • upper abdominal pain
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • abdominal swelling
  • jaundice
  • white or chalky stools
  • bruising or bleeding
It is possible that Liver Cancer shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Liver Cancer

The following are the most common causes of Liver Cancer:
  • chronic infection with hepatitis virus
  • DNA mutations
  • cirrhosis
  • hemochromatosis
  • alcohol abuse

Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Liver Cancer:
  • chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus
  • cirrhosis
  • inherited liver diseases
  • diabetes
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • exposure to aflatoxins
  • excessive alcohol consumption

Prevention of Liver Cancer

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Liver Cancer. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • vaccination against hepatitis B
  • promoting safe injection practices
  • screening blood donation products
  • screening high-risk asymptomatic individuals
  • reducing alcohol abuse
  • maintain normal weight
  • controlling diabetes
  • diet control

Occurrence of Liver Cancer

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Liver Cancer cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Widely occurring between 500K - 1 Million cases

Common Age Group

Liver Cancer most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Liver Cancer can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Liver Cancer

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Liver Cancer:
  • Blood tests: To reveal liver function abnormalities
  • Imaging tests: To check liver functions
  • Liver biopsy: To make a definitive diagnosis of liver cancer

Doctor for Diagnosis of Liver Cancer

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Liver Cancer:
  • Oncologist
  • Hepatologist

Complications of Liver Cancer if untreated

It is not know if Liver Cancer causes complications if left untreated.

Procedures for Treatment of Liver Cancer

The following procedures are used to treat Liver Cancer:
  • Surgery: To remove the tumor
  • Liver transplant surgery: Replacing the diseased liver with a healthy liver from a donor
  • Radiofrequency ablation: To destroy the cancer cells
  • Cryoablation: To freeze the cancer cells
  • Injecting alcohol into the tumor: To kill the cancer cells
  • Chemoembolization: To kill the cancer cells

Self-care for Liver Cancer

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Liver Cancer:
  • Limit alcohol use: By limiting alcohol use
  • Reduce weight: Normal weight keeps your liver healthy
  • Avoid exposure to Aflatoxin B1: Reducing exposure to aspergillus fungi
  • Limi Iron consumption: Cutting off iron consumption
  • Take healthy diet: Consuming healthy diet keeps the liver healthy

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Liver Cancer

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Liver Cancer:
  • Acupuncture therapy: To help control pain
  • Acupressure therapy: To help control pain in people with advanced liver cancer
  • Music therapy: To relax the patient
  • Massage therapy: To help control pain in people with advanced liver cancer

Patient Support for Treatment of Liver Cancer

The following actions may help Liver Cancer patients:
  • Friends and family support: Provides emotional support when patient feels overwhelmed by cancer
  • Counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or cancer survivors group: Helps patient to cope up with their fears and emotional state

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Liver Cancer.

Related Topics

Liver Diseases

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