Liver Cancer - General Info

Liver Cancer

The liver is the largest organ in the body, and extremely important organ that has many functions. This includes producing proteins that circulate in the blood. Some of these help the blood to clot and prevent excessive bleeding, while others are essential for maintaining the balance of fluid in the body. Hepatoma, or hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common primary liver cancer and related to chronic viral hepatitis B and C. This section gives more information about this kind of liver cancer.

  1. What is liver cancer?
  2. What causes liver cancer?

The liver is the largest organ in the body, and extremely important organ that has many functions. This includes producing proteins that circulate in the blood. Some of these help the blood to clot and prevent excessive bleeding, while others are essential for maintaining the balance of fluid in the body. Hepatoma, or hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common primary liver cancer and related to chronic viral hepatitis B and C. This section gives more information about this kind of liver cancer.

  1. What is liver cancer?
  2. What causes liver cancer?
  3. What are the symptoms?
  4. How is it diagnosed?
  5. Treatment?

What is Liver Cancer?

There are two different types of liver cancer. The commoner kind is called hepatorna or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and arises from the main cells of the liver. This type is usually confined to the liver, and occurs mostly in people with a liver disease called Cirrhosis. There is also a rarer sub-type of hepatoma called Fibrolamellar hepatoma, which may occur in younger people and is not related to previous liver diseases. The less common type of primary liver cancer is called cholaclgiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer, because it starts in the cells lining the bile ducts.

What Causes Liver Cancer?

Most people who develop hepatoma usually also have a condition called cirrhosis of the liver. This is a fine scarring throught the liver which is due to a variety of causes including infection and heavy alcohol drinking, over long period of time. Infection with either the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus can lead to liver cancer, and can also be the Cause of cirrhosis which increases the risk of developing hepatoma. In Asia a poison called Aflatoxin, found in mouldy peanuts and grain, is an important cause of hepatoma. In the western world. cancer of the liver usually occurs in middle-aged and elderly people, although rarely it can also affect children and young adults.

What are The Common Symptoms?

In the early stages of liver cancer there are often no symptoms. sometimes people notice a vague discomfort in the upper abdomen that may become painful. this is due to enlargement of the liver. Loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice, ascites, nausea, and weakness and tiredness are common symptoms.

Whatever the cause of these symptoms will always indicate a condition that needs medical attention and would not be ignored and should be checked by your doctor.

How to Diagnose?

Types of Treatment

Surgery is the most effective treatment for primary liver cancer, but this is not always possible due to the size or position of the tumour. It is also not possible to operate if the cancer has spread beyond the liver.

Liquids such as alcohol may be injected into the tumour to destroy it (known as tumour ablation), Chemotherapy may also some-times be used.

Your doctor will plan your treatment taking into account a number of factors:

Source : Bangkok GI & Liver Center

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