Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Cancer that develops in the liver is known as liver cancer. Your largest internal organ is the liver. It carries out several vital tasks to support your body’s ability to heal wounds, absorb nutrients, and get rid of waste.

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The liver is situated just behind your ribs in the upper right region of your belly. It is in charge of creating bile, a fluid that aids in the digestion of fats, vitamins, and other nutrients.

In order to keep you fueled during periods when you are not eating, this essential organ also stores nutrients like glucose. It also degrades poisons and drugs.

When cancer begins to grow in the liver, it kills liver cells and prevents the liver from functioning normally.

Generally speaking, liver cancer is categorized as primary or secondary. Primary liver cancer starts in the liver’s cells. When cancer cells from one organ metastasis, or spread, to the liver, secondary liver cancer results.

Unlike normal cells in your body, cancer cells have the ability to separate from the cancer’s original location.

The lymphatic system or bloodstream are two ways that the cells might move throughout your body. They can start to proliferate in other organs or tissues once they get there.

The primary liver cancer that is the subject of this essay originated in the liver cells.

Liver cancer types

Primary liver cancer comes in several forms. Each one represents a distinct liver cell type or liver portion that is impacted. Primary liver cancer may begin as a single lump developing in your liver or it may begin concurrently in several locations inside your liver.

Primary liver carcinoma mostly manifests as:

Carcinoma of the liver

Hepatoma, or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is the most prevalent kind of liver cancer. The HCC type accounts for 85–90% of primary liver malignancies. The primary cells that comprise your liver, called hepatocytes, are where this problem begins to develop.

People with cirrhosis or long-term (chronic) hepatitis are far more prone to develop HCC. A dangerous kind of liver disease called cirrhosis is typically brought on by:

viral hepatitis B or C

chronic, excessive alcohol consumption

fatty liver disease without alcoholism

Cholangiocarcinoma

The tiny, tube-like bile ducts in your liver are the site of the development of cholangiocarcinoma, sometimes referred to as bile duct cancer. Bile aids in digestion and is transported to the gallbladder via these channels.

Intrahepatic bile duct carcinoma is the term for cancer that starts inside the portion of the ducts that are inside your liver. Extrahepatic bile duct carcinoma is the name given to cancer that starts in the portion of the ducts that are outside of your liver.

Rarely occurs bile duct cancer. In the US, over 8,000 people are diagnosed with it annually.

Angiosarcoma of the liver

An extremely uncommon kind of liver cancer that starts in the liver’s blood vessels is called hepatic angiosarcoma. Because this kind of cancer spreads swiftly, it is usually detected at a later stage.

Hepatoblastoma

An exceedingly uncommon form of liver cancer is called hepatoblastoma. Children almost always have it, especially those under the age of three.

About 70% of cases of hepatoblastoma can be treated with surgery and treatment.

Symptoms of liver cancer

Many persons with primary liver cancer may not show any signs while the disease is first developing. When symptoms do manifest, they might consist of:

discomfort, soreness, and tenderness in your abdomen, particularly in the upper abdomen

Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.

Dark urine and pale, chalky stools

nausea

throwing up

appetite decline

experiencing very quick satiety after eating

bleeding or bruising readily

fragility

exhaustion

fever

inexplicable drop in weight

What are the liver cancer risk factors and causes?

The reason why some people develop liver cancer and others do not is unknown to doctors. Nonetheless, it is recognized that the following variables raise the chance of liver cancer:

Years old. Older adults are more likely to get liver cancer.

ethnicity and race. Alaska Native and American Indian populations in the United States have higher rates of liver cancer. Among white people, it is least prevalent.

excessive drinking. Liver cancer risk increases with prolonged heavy drinking.

smoking. Liver cancer risk is increased by cigarette smoking.

exposure to aflatoxin. A particular kind of mold that grows on wheat, corn, and peanuts can create aflatoxin, which is a hazardous material. Laws governing food handling in the US restrict aflatoxin exposure. There might be more exposure in other areas.

Use of anabolic steroids. Liver cancer risk increases with prolonged usage of anabolic steroids, a synthetic form of testosterone.

How can liver cancer be identified?

Your doctor will first question you about your health history and do a physical examination in order to identify liver cancer. If you have a history of heavy alcohol use or a history of chronic hepatitis B or C infection, be sure to let your doctor know.

Tests and techniques used in liver cancer diagnosis include:

testing for liver function. By detecting the amounts of proteins, liver enzymes, and bilirubin in your blood, these tests assist your doctor in assessing the condition of your liver.

Test for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). Blood AFP levels may indicate the existence of liver cancer. Normally, only the liver and yolk sac of a growing fetus manufacture this protein. After delivery, AFP production typically ceases.

imaging examinations. Your abdomen’s liver and other organs can be seen in great detail on abdominal ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs. They can assist your doctor in identifying the exact location, size, and presence of metastases of cancerous growths in relation to other organs.