Liver Cancer : Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Sonali Kapoor

, Treatments

Liver cancer is also known as hepatic cancer. Liver cancer is cancer which begins in the cells of your liver.  Our liver looks like a football-sized organ which sits in the upper right portion of the abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above your stomach.


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What is Liver Cancer?


Many types of cancer can form in the liver. The common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which begins in the main type of liver cell (hepatocyte). Some types of hepatic cancer, such as intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma, are much less common.


It appears when liver cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA the material which provides instructions for every chemical process in your body. DNA mutations cause changes in these instructions.


What are the Symptoms of Liver Cancer?


There are mainly 8 symptoms of hepatic cancer:



  • Loss of appetite


  • Upper abdominal pain


  • Nausea, Fatigue, and Vomiting


  • Weakness


  • Abdominal swelling


  • Yellow discoloration of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)


  • White, chalky stools


What are the Causes of Liver Cancer?


There are some causes of hepatic cancer:



1. Sex


Men are more likely to get hepatocellular carcinoma than women.



2. Weight


Obesity increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.



3. History of Diabetes


Research has suggested a link between diabetes and hepatic cancer. This is the link between diabetes and fatty liver disease.


4. Inherited Metabolic Diseases


Diseases which disrupt the normal metabolism of the body have been shown to increase your risk of hepatic cancer.



5. Rare diseases


According to the research found a link between hepatic cancer and some rare diseases like alpha -1-antitrypsin deficiency, tyrosinemia, and Wilson’s disease.


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What are the Risk Factors of Liver Cancer?


There are a few risk factors of hepatic cancer :


1. Chronic Infection with HBV or HCV.


Long- term infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) increases your risk of liver cancer.




This progressive and irreversible condition causes scar tissue to form in your liver and increases your chances of developing hepatic cancer.


3.Certain Inherited Liver Diseases.


Liver diseases increase the risk of liver cancer include hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease.




People with this blood sugar disorder have a greater risk of liver cancer than those who don’t have diabetes.


5. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.


A build-up of fat in the liver increases the risk of hepatic cancer.


5.Exposure to Aflatoxins.


Aflatoxins are poisons produced by molds that grow on crops that are stored poorly. Crops such as corn and peanuts can become contaminated with aflatoxins, which can end up in foods made of these products.


6. Excessive Alcohol Consumption.


Intake more than a moderate amount of alcohol daily over many years can lead to irreversible liver damage and increase your risk of hepatic cancer.


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What are the Preventions of Liver Cancer?


There are some preventions of hepatic cancer :


1. Know the health status of any sexual partner. Don’t engage in unprotected sex unless you’re certain your partner isn’t infected with HBV, HCV or any other sexually transmitted infection. In case you don’t know the health status of your partner, use a condom every time you have sexual intercourse.



2. Don’t use intravenous (IV) drugs, but if you do, use a clean needle. Reduce the risk of HCV by not injecting illegal drugs. Always make sure that any needle you use is sterile, and don’t share it.



3. Seek safe, clean shops when getting a piercing or tattoo. Needles which are not properly sterilized can spread the hepatitis C virus. Before getting a tattoo or piercing, check out the shops in your area and ask staff members about their safety practices.


What is the Treatment of Liver Cancer?


There are some major treatments of hepatic cancer like:


1. Surgery


Remove The Tumor


In specific situations, your doctor may suggest an operation to remove hepatic cancer and a small portion of healthy liver tissue that surrounds it if your tumor is small and your liver function is good.


Liver Transplant Surgery


In liver transplant surgery, your diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy liver from a donor. This surgery is only an option for a small percentage of people with early-stage hepatic cancer.



2. Radiation Therapy


In this treatment uses high-powered energy from sources like X-rays and protons to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. Doctors carefully direct the energy to the liver, while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. During external radiation therapy treatment, you lie on a table and a machine directs the energy beams at a precise point on your body.




In the above article, we have talked about liver cancer its, symptoms, causes, risk factors, preventions and more importantly the treatment. The only way to cure hepatic cancer is surgery and therapies but always keep in mind to take less intake of alcohol and tobacco. It also helps to cure it easily and effectively.


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