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Liver Cancer

Hepatic cancer is also known as liver cancer and primarily originates in the liver which has not spread from another organ to the liver. When cancers that have developed elsewhere settle in the liver, they are known as liver metastases or secondary liver cancer. Primary liver cancers erupt in the liver only. Secondary liver cancers are caused by the spread of lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer and ovarian cancer. HCC or hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer. It predominantly affects the males and is known to form due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Causes and risk factors

  • Cirrhosis damaged liver cells; presence of cirrhosis is a high indication of risk of cancer

  • Acquired liver disease individuals who have developed hepatitis B or C

  • Aflatoxins consumption a type of fungus found in wheat, soybeans, etc.

  • Diabetes patients with a combination of diabetes and hepatitis can develop liver cancer

  • Family history and genetics if immediate parentage and siblings have liver cancer without any obvious cause, the patient is at a high risk

  • Anabolic steroids these are used by athletes and sportsmen, increasing their risk of cancer

  • L- carnitine deficiency the deficiency itself enhances the risk of cancer

  • Weak immune systems when persons develop HIV / AIDS

  • Male gender men are more susceptible to liver cancer

  • Obesity

  • Arsenic water wells

  • Smoking

Signs and symptoms

HCC is characterized by several events:

  • Right upper quadrant abdominal pain sometimes radiating up to the shoulder

  • Jaundice yellowing of skin and white of the eyes

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Hepatomegaly or enlarged liver

  • Fever

  • Itching

Tests and diagnosis

  • Alpha-fetoprotein levels protein produced by liver

  • CT scan triple phase CT is done

  • MRI is done to characterize HCC

  • Biopsy sample of the tissue is analyzed

  • HCC screening with Ultrasonography for early detection of liver cancer is essential for all cirrhosis patients

Treatment

Surgical resection (removal)of either the part of the liver or in its entirety is an option for curing the disease. Liver transplant also is an option depending on the number and size of the tumor. Liver surgery is a very complex operation which requies expertise, specialized instruments and a multidisciplinary team consisting of the surgeon, anaesthetist, hepatologist, interventional radiologists etc. Non-curable cancer is treated with targeted radiotherapy, ablative therapy and interventional radiological methods.

Consult Dr. Deepak Varma today for the diagnosis and staging of liver cancer. He has experience in liver resections and other multimodality treatments.