Liver cancer is one of the most common and dangerous forms of cancer in the world which tragically affects a chunk of people every year. In liver cancer, a tumour is developed in the area of the liver and thus, prevents the normal functions of the liver. Now with the advancement of healthcare technology, many hospitals are providing the best cancer treatment in India including liver cancer. If you want to know information about liver cancer and the hospitals which provide the best cancer treatment in India, you must be in touch with Livonta Global which has an astounding reputation in medical tourism.
Diagnosis of liver cancer
The tests and the below-mentioned procedure are used to diagnosis liver cancer.
- Blood tests: You need to do blood tests (liver function tests) which will reveal whether your liver is functioning properly or not.
- Imaging tests: Sometimes you need to do imaging tests like an ultrasound, CT and MRI.
- Removing a sample of liver tissue for testing: Sometimes your doctor will ask you to go for the removal of a piece of liver tissue for laboratory testing to make a definitive diagnosis of liver cancer. During a liver biopsy, an expert inserts a thin needle through your skin and into your liver to get a tissue sample.
Symptoms of liver cancer
Though you may not feel any symptoms at the initial stage, symptoms will come gradually. The common symptoms are,
- Unintentional or unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain, swelling, and inflammation
- Weakness and fatigue
- White or chalky stool
Causes of liver cancer
Cirrhosis, diabetes and chronic infection with hepatitis B or C virus are all risk factors for liver cancer. Some common causes of liver cancer are,
- Heavy use of alcohol
- Use of certain drugs
- Fatty or unhealthy foods
- Unprotected sex
Types of liver cancer
Liver cancer is mainly of two types and they are,
- Primary liver cancer: Primary liver cancer starts within the liver itself.
- Secondary liver cancer: In this type, cancer has developed another part of the body and has spread to the liver.
There are four types of primary liver cancers (PLC)
- Hepatocellular carcinoma: This type of primary cancer is also known as hepatoma or HCC. This is the most common type of cancer. The disease develops from the prime liver cells called hepatocytes. This type of cancer is common in people who have a damaged liver from cirrhosis.
- Fibrolamellar carcinoma: This is a rare subtype of hepatocellular cancer (HCC). Fibrolamellar carcinoma is common in younger people. This type of cancer is not usually linked with cirrhosis or infection with hepatitis B or C.
- Cholangiocarcinoma: This type of cancer is also known as bile duct cancer. Cholangio actually refers to the bile ducts. The liver produces bile. This bile helps in digestion of food (fat) and flows through the tubes called bile ducts into the gallbladder. Cancer can start anywhere along the bile ducts. Cancers which start in the section of the ducts inside the liver are called intra hepatic cholangiocarcinoma. On the other hand, cancers that start in the section of ducts outside the liver are called extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Both types of cholangiocarcinoma are treated as bile duct cancer.
- Angiosarcoma: This type of cancer also called hemangiosarcoma. In this type, cancer starts in the blood vessels of the liver and is extremely rare. Only around 10 cases of angiosarcoma of the liver are diagnosed each year in the UK. This type of cancer is common in people aged in their 70s and 80s.
- Cirrhosis or scarring of the liver enhances the risk of liver cancer. So, you should reduce the risk of cirrhosis.
- Drink alcohol consumption in a moderate way
- Always maintain a healthy weight
- Get vaccinated for hepatitis B
- Don’t use intravenous (IV) drugs, but if you do, use a clean needle
- Seek a proper treatment for hepatitis B and C
- Do an early liver cancer screening
Depending on the size and stage of liver cancer, your doctor will prescribe the right treatment for you.
- Surgery: Your doctor will recommend you to remove the tumour from your liver through a surgical process if it is small and can be accessed easily. Sometimes, your doctor will recommend a liver transplant surgery where your diseased liver is replaced with the healthy liver of a donor.
- Radiation therapy: During this treatment, high-powered rays like x-rays and protons are used to destroy and shrink the tumour cells. Radiation therapy can be used when other treatments are not useful and when the cancer is in an advanced stage.
- Targeted drug therapy: This type of treatment focus on specific abnormalities present within cancer cells. By blocking these abnormalities, targeted drugs can cause cancer cells to die. The markets are flooded with many targeted drugs which are useful in treating advanced liver cancer.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy uses your immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy treatments are used for people with advanced liver cancer.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill rapidly growing cancerous cells. Chemotherapy can be directed through a vein in your arm, in pill form or both. Chemotherapy is sometimes used to treat advanced liver cancer.
- Localized treatment: Localized treatments (heating or freezing the cancer cells, injecting alcohols, etc.) for liver cancer are those which are administered directly to the cancer cells and the surrounding area of the cancerous cells.
The above we mentioned various types of liver cancers, their treatments, symptoms, and prevention.
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