Liver Cancer - What ?
Liver cancer is an ailment that can lead to death and is one of the types of cancer that is rising at one of the quickest rates all over the world. “Cancer that originates in the liver” and “cancer that originates in the bile ducts in the liver” makes up the majority of primary liver cancers.
Liver cancer can be either primary or secondary. Both forms of cancer share similar root causes, risk factors, symptoms, and therapeutic approaches. Healthcare providers try to figure out who is more likely to get primary liver cancer so they can find it and treat it as soon as possible.
When liver cancer is in its early stages, doctors can do more to treat it. This is true for many types of cancer. Unlike many other types of cancer, doctors know a lot about what makes someone more likely to get liver cancer. The liver is where most cancers start. Cancer from another part of your body spreads to your liver. This article tells you about primary liver cancer.
Types of liver cancer
Although it is not very prevalent, the number of people diagnosed with liver cancer is continuously rising. It is estimated by professionals in the healthcare field that approximately one per cent of all men and women living in the United States will be diagnosed with a kind of liver cancer during the course of their lives.
Primary liver cancer can be broken down into three categories:
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer, accounting for almost all instances of the disease.
Cancer that begins inside the liver, also known as intrahepatic cancer (IHC), is a subtype of cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer that develops in the bile ducts of the liver is known as IHC. It accounts for somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent of all primary liver cancer cases.
Angiosarcoma is an extremely uncommon form of primary liver cancer, accounting for only around one per cent of all occurrences. The lining of blood cells in your liver is the starting point for this type of cancer. (Angiosarcoma has been shown to impact other organs as well.)
Symptoms of liver cancer
It's possible that you won't experience any symptoms at all if you have liver cancer in its early stages. Symptoms of liver cancer are more likely to show up as cancer gets worse.
Both hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (IHC) present with the same symptoms, which include the following:
- Weakness and being tired all the time
- pain in the belly
- a buildup of fluid in the abdomen that causes it to swell (ascites)
- The right shoulder hurts
- Loss of appetite and being sick
- losing weight
- skin and eyes that are yellow (jaundice)
- stools that are pale
What causes liver cancer most often?
Liver cancer happens when something changes the DNA of healthy liver cells. The genes that tell our cells how to work are stored in DNA. Genes in all of us tell cells when to grow, divide, and die. Oncogenes, for example, help cells grow and divide. Other genes, called tumour suppressor genes, keep an eye on cell activity to make sure cells don't multiply out of control and die when they should.
When our DNA changes or mutates, it sends new instructions to our cells. In HCC, changes to the DNA turn on oncogenes and/or turn off genes that stop tumour growth. Studies show that more than half of all HCC cases are caused by cirrhosis caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
When these viruses get into liver cells, they change the DNA of the cells, turning healthy liver cells into cells that can cause cancer. Healthcare providers think that having inflammation in your bile ducts for a long time makes you more likely to get IHC. This long-term inflammation could cause changes in the DNA of healthy cells that turn them into cells that don't work right.
What are the stages of liver cancer?
Here is how liver cancer is broken up into stages and what they mean:
Stage I: Cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or organs in other parts of the body. This stage is broken up into two parts:
Stage IA. The liver only has one tumour. It's no bigger than 2 cm and hasn't turned into a blood vessel.
Stage IB. The liver only has one tumour. It's bigger than 2 cm and hasn't turned into a blood vessel yet.
Stage II. There is no spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body. One of the following is true:
Stage IIA. The liver only has one tumour. It's more than 2 cm wide and has grown into blood vessels.
Stage IIB. There is more than one tumour, but none of them is wider than 5 cm.
Stage III. Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or to organs in other parts of the body. This stage is split into two smaller parts.
Stage IIIA. There are a lot of tumours in the liver, and at least one of them is bigger than 5 cm.
Stage IIIB. The cancer is spreading to one of the liver's main blood vessels (the portal vein or hepatic vein).
Stage IV. This stage is broken up into two parts:
Stage IVA. The size of a tumour or group of tumours can vary, and cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the liver. It has not spread to other organs in the body.
Stage IVB. The size of the tumour (s) doesn't matter. Cancer has moved to other parts of the body, like the lungs or bones. It might or might not have spread to lymph nodes close by.
How liver cancer is treated?
For primary liver cancer, the most common treatments are removing the tumour and putting chemotherapy right into the cancer.
Most of the time, chemotherapy or a combination of surgery and chemotherapy are used to treat cancer that has spread to the liver.
During surgery, part of the liver can be taken out or the whole liver can be replaced with a liver from a donor.
Some people with liver cancer may be able to have surgery. This will depend on the size, number, and location of the tumours.
A partial hepatectomy is surgery that removes part of the liver. After surgery, if the rest of the liver is not hurt, it can usually heal itself and grow back to normal size over a few months. If there are tumours on both sides of the liver, surgery may be done in two parts so that the liver can grow back after the first one.
Some people cannot remove part of the liver and need a transplant. Health and other criteria determine liver transplant eligibility. Smoking, doing narcotics, and drinking alcohol for six months are also prohibited. Waiting for a donor liver may delay liver transplantation. Most patients have other cancer treatments at this time.
Most minor primary liver malignancies are ablationed. It seldom treats liver secondary cancer.
Radio waves and microwaves heat and kill cancer cells in most tumour ablation therapies. Percutaneous ablation or surgery are used to give this treatment (ablation with surgery).
Alcohol injection and cryotherapy, which freezes and kills cancer cells, are rare ablation treatments.
Depending on the type of liver cancer you have, you may get chemotherapy drugs to kill, shrink, or slow the growth of the tumours.
Chemotherapy can be given systemically, which means that it goes all over the body. It can be given in pill form or through a drip in the vein. This can be given after other treatments, like surgery or cryotherapy, to kill any cancer cells that are still there. It is usually not used to treat liver cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body.
Systemic chemotherapy can also be used as a way to slow the growth of cancer and relieve pain.
Chemotherapy can also be put directly into the tumour. This is called chemoembolisation (or TACE). Since it goes right after the tumour, stronger drugs can be used. Most of the time, TACE is used to treat primary liver cancer.
A variety of treatments that work against cancer cells by stopping their growth or function or by helping the body's immune system kill them. It can be used to treat both primary and secondary cancers in the liver. It can be used with other cancer treatments or after they are done.
1. How can I prevent liver cancer?
The following tips can help you reduce your risk of liver cancer:
- Avoid cirrhosis-causing habits.
- Healthy weight.
- Hepatitis B vaccination. This vaccination is generally safe. Ask your doctor about hepatitis A vaccination.
- Avoid hepatitis C.
- Ask your doctor about liver cancer screenings if you have liver disease, diabetes, obesity, or heavy drinking.
2. Is liver cancer curable?
Liver transplants can cure liver cancer, but not everyone who needs one will be healthy enough for the procedure or be able to find a donor. Studies show that people who have surgery to take out part of their liver tend to live longer than those who can't have surgery because of their illness. When this happens, doctors and nurses focus on treatments that will help people live as long as possible with as much quality as possible.
3. How do health care providers treat liver cancer?
For HCC and IHC, doctors often use surgery to remove part of the liver, a liver transplant, and treatments that target the liver, such as hepatic arterial embolization and ablation. They may also use different kinds of chemotherapy, chemoembolization, radiation therapy, radioembolization, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.