Liver cancer is a dangerous life-threatening disease. According to research, statistics show that liver cancer is the most common cancer. As per statistics, in 2020 about 905,677 people were affected with liver cancer.
In this article, will learn an overview of liver cancer, its treatment, causes, and risk.
Stages of liver cancer
- Healthy liver (Stage 0): The liver is healthy, and there are no problems.
- Fatty liver (Stage 1): The liver is enlarged due to fatty deposits in the cells.
- Fibrosis liver (Stage 2): In stage 2, the liver tissue begins to be replaced by connective tissue.
- Cirrhosisliver (Stage 3): Excessive development of connective tissue, Restructuring of the liver and vascular systems, formation of areas of necros
- Liver cancer (Stage 4): As a result of a malignant transformation of hepatocytes, liver cancer is formed.
Symptoms of liver cancer
Some symptoms can be mild while the others severe, the symptoms of liver cancer are:
- Abdominal and back pain
- Feeling nausea or constant vomiting
- Sudden weight loss
- Yellow skin on the face and eyes
- Internal bleeding
- Itching on the skin
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Enlarged liver
Types of liver cancer
Two types of liver cancer are primary liver cancer and secondary liver cancer.
The Primary liver cancer starts in the liver itself, while secondary liver cancer starts somewhere else in the body and then spreads to the liver.
Secondary liver cancer is also known as the metastasized liver cancer.
The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, and this type can be formed as a massive tumor or small tumor across the liver.
Other types include:
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
Diagnosis of liver cancer
liver cancer will have different types of diagnoses. The tests will be conducted by which the doctor recommends for you.
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Blood test
- Liver biopsy
- Bone scan
Treatments of liver cancer
Here are some most proven treatments performed by doctors on patients suffering from liver cancer to treat them:
Surgery to remove the tumor
If your tumor is small and your liver is functioning well, the doctor might remove the tumor surrounding healthy tissue with the help of a small surgical procedure. Although the surgery will only be done if the patient’s liver is in healthy condition and functioning well.
Liver transplant surgery
In this treatment, the doctor will replace your liver with a healthy liver received from the donor in this surgery. Although this is a complex procedure and also the cost of liver transplants is more than any other treatment performed to treat liver cancer but it is one of the most recommended and long-term treatments for liver cancer.
But we must keep in our mind that a liver transplant can only be done when the patient is in the early stages of liver cancer.
Radiation therapy is conducted only if other methods of treatment have not worked. We can say it is the last option for any doctor to treat any type of cancer.
In radiation therapy, high-powered energy is directed to the liver to kill all the cancer cells; in this treatment, some of the surrounding healthy cells might also be destroyed, but doctors see that the damage to the healthy cells is as less as possible.
Chemotherapy is treated for the last stages of cancer. It is one of the most commonly performed treatments for cancer.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill the cancer cells; the drug is injected through the vein, taken orally, or together.
The cancer cells produce proteins that bind the disease-fighting cells, because of which they can’t fight the cancer cells. Immunotherapy treatment helps to break down these proteins and weakens the cancer cells.
Targeted drug therapy or treatment
Target drug therapy is drugs that kill cancer genes or target cancer cells. This treatment is performed on people that have advanced liver cancer.
Some other local treatments
Ethanol treatment: If ethanol (the type of alcohol found in your favorite adult beverages) is injected into a tumor, it destroys proteins and causes the cells to dehydrate and die.
Radiofrequency ablation: A radiofrequency ablation for cancer is a minimally invasive procedure that uses electrical energy and heat to destroy cancer cells.
Hyperthermia or Heating cancer cells: Hyperthermia is a type of treatment in which body tissue is heated to as high as 113 °F to help damage and kill cancer cells with little or no harm to normal tissue.)
Freezing cancer cells: In this treatment, the cancer cell are freezed slowly by reducing the temperature to approximately 1°C per minute using a controlled rate cryo-freezer or a cryo-freezing container such as “Mr. Frosty,”)
Prevention is always better than cure.
Try to live a balanced life, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and staying stress-free do wonders for your physical, internal as well as emotional health.
If you are consuming alcohol, start decreasing your alcohol intake and stop it eventually. Excessive alcohol consumption may damage your liver.
Monitor sudden weight changes and consults the best specialists for maintaining a healthy weight. Eat a healthy diet and avoid fast foods to maintain your weight.
It is recommended that you exercise regularly; weight training and cardio is one of the best workouts recommended by doctors. A patient can also perform yoga to keep their liver healthy.
Other prevention measures include:
- vaccination for hepatitis B
- Hepatitis B virus can cause liver failure, scarring of the liver, lifelong liver disease, and lastly liver cancer. Therefore it is necessary to take a vaccination for hepatitis B.
- Reduce the risk of hepatitis c.
- Hepatitis is an infection caused by a virus that attacks your liver and leads to inflammation.
- There are no vaccinations for hepatitis C, but you can avoid it as it mostly occurs when one person comes in contact with blood from an infected person.
According to the top cancer surgeons, liver cancer can be detected and treated at an early stage of the disease, and therefore if you notice any symptoms be sure to consult your doctors immediately.