Liver cancer is cancer that develops anywhere in the liver. It occurs when abnormal cells multiply faster than healthy cells.
Hepatocellular carcinoma, which originates within the bile ducts in persons with chronic liver disease, is the most prevalent type of liver cancer. Hepatoblastoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma are also other forms of liver cancer.
Cancer that originates elsewhere in the body then spreads to the liver is more common than cancer that begins in the liver. This type of cancer is known as metastatic cancer.
Research shows that there’s no clear cause for liver cancer disease. However, doctors have established that cirrhosis is a common factor in liver cancer. The most frequent causes of liver cancer are recurrent infections with hepatitis B or viruses.
Other risk factors for liver cancer may include:
Stage 1: This is when there is a tumor in the liver that hasn’t spread to other organs
Stage 2: At this stage, there’s either one large tumor that has spread to the blood vessels, or there is more than one smaller tumor that is only in the liver and hasn’t spread
Stage 3: At this stage cancer has spread from the liver to the blood arteries, lymph nodes, or other organs, and there are multiple tumors
Stage 4: Cancer has spread to other parts of the body
Some of the common signs and symptoms of liver cancer include:
For doctors to have an effective diagnosis of liver cancer, they recommend that the patient undergo a number of tests. These include:
In the treatment of liver cancer, a multidisciplinary team collaborates to develop the patient’s overall treatment strategy. The available treatments following a conclusive diagnosis will depend on:
In a situation where a tumor is realized in an early stage and the patient’s liver is working, the doctors aim to try and remove the cancerous cells to preserve the function of the liver. This may include chemotherapy and surgery. The treatment of symptoms and side effects is also part of the care plan, which is crucial in the management of cancer.
An alternative treatment strategy could be recommended by doctors which may involve a liver transplant if the liver is not functioning well or if liver cancer is discovered at a later stage.