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Liver Cancer – From Symptoms to Treatments

Liver cancer, also commonly known as hepatic cancer, is a cancer that mainly affects the liver. It is one of the cancer types with numerous cases of deaths. This fact is something that everyone needs to be aware of and not to have fear about it. The more things you know the greater the possibility of preventing it. You will learn the different symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatments of this cancer.

The Symptoms

The symptoms of liver cancer are different from one person to another. They also vary based on the stage of the disease. However, the following are the most common symptoms:
1. unexpected weight loss
2. nausea and vomiting
3. jaundice with yellowish skin and eyes
4. pain in the upper abdomen
5. enlarged liver
6. abdominal swelling
7. fatigue or weakness
8. feeling full after a small meal
9. fever

The Causes and Risk Factors

This cancer affects both men and women but in special circumstances, of course. Doctors say that the popular causes are high consumption of alcohol (daily drinking), smoking, and drug injection especially shared needles.

Some of the factors that can increase the risk of liver cancer are chronic HCV or HBV infections, chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and C), as well as the two types of diabetes namely noninsulin-dependent and maturity onset diabetes. There are also other kinds of diseases that increase the risk of liver cancer, such as Wilson disease, tyrosinemia, glycogen storage disease, and Alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency.

The Treatment

The type of treatment for liver cancer also differs depending on the stage that the patient has and the kind of cancer.

Localized Resectable Liver Cancer

For this kind of cancer, it is an early stage of the disease, in which a doctor recommends you to undergo surgery, partial hepatectomy. Actually, in this stage, there are only a few persons who are diagnosed. Some of them are diagnosed in later stage when the tumor has enlarged and spread. Larger tumors, especially tumors that invade blood vessels, are possible to come back and affect other healthy parts of the liver after the surgery. The other option for early stage patient for liver cancer is the liver transplant, but it’s rare.

Localized Unresectable Liver Cancer

This stage is not yet spread in the liver and can be removed through partial hepatectomy. It is suggested if there are a few tumors. If the tumor is near at the large blood vessel, if it is too large to remove, or the other parts of the liver us unhealthy, the doctor will usually conduct a transplant procedure.

Advanced Liver Cancer (N1 or M1 tumors)

The tumor is in the outside of the liver, either in the lymph nodes or in other organs nearby. This type cannot be treated with surgery. If the liver is still functioning well, target therapy is best recommended to control the growth of cancer.

Recurrent Liver Cancer

At this stage, the cancer comes back after treatment. It is present in or near the area where the tumor has started. However, the treatment depends on lots of factors from surgery to live transplant. It is best to consult a doctor in this case.

Liver cancer is dangerous because it can lead to death. Smokers and frequent drinkers of alcoholic beverage are the most prone of this disease. If you are one of those people who have that kind of habit, it is best that you prevent doing them before it is too late. Also, have a regular check-up of your liver in order to determine how healthy your liver is.