Dr Deepak Varma Gastro Surgeon Cochin

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Benign And Malignant Tumours Of The Liver

Benign tumors of the liver

Benign tumors are non-cancerous tumors and cause no symptoms. They do not present with any health risk and do not spread to the other areas of the body. Surgery is generally not indicated in this case, however, key biological factors are evaluated before the role of surgery, preventive and diagnostic measures are addressed.

Types of benign liver tumors

Focal nodular hyperplasia: FNH usually occurs in women between 20 years and 30 years of age. They do not cause any symptoms and do not require any kind of treatment. Like most liver tumors are, FNH is discovered during imaging for other disorders. Surgical removal is recommended very rarely unless the tumor is too large, and painful.

Hemangiomas: Hemangiomas are one of the most regular and frequent forms of benign liver tumors. They develop in women more than in men. They reveal no symptoms but could cause discomfort due to their large size and proximity to other organs. In such cases, surgical intervention is recommended.

Hepatocellular adenomas: Hepatocellular adenomas are rare tumors occurring in women during their childbearing age. These are often characterized by the usage of oral contraceptives with high doses of estrogen and intake of hormone pills. In most cases, the doctor may advise stopping ingestion of the medications to shrink the tumor. When this does not happen, then surgical intervention is proposed.

Malignant tumors of the liver

Malignant tumors of the liver are indicative of liver cancer. Some early-stage liver carcinomas do not cause any symptoms and remain undetected until they have advanced. Liver cancers are generally of two types of primary tumors that have originated in the liver itself and secondary or metastatic tumors that originate elsewhere in the body and spread to the liver.

Types of malignant liver tumours

HCC or hepatocellular carcinoma: HCC is a primary liver cancer. Cirrhosis of the liver acquired predominantly due to alcoholism and hepatitis C, is deemed as the chief cause of HCC. It is generally discovered in its advanced stages and treatment modalities may include radiofrequency ablation, liver resection and liver transplantation depending on the stage, size and number of tumor.

Cholangiocarcinoma: More popularly known as bile duct cancer is a relatively rare tumor. If it occurs in the liver, it is called intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma Surgical resection of the liver is the most preferred treatment for this.

Metastatic liver tumors: Tumors that erupt elsewhere in the body metastasize or spread into the liver. It can originate in another organ such as lungs, breasts, pancreas, stomach and the large intestine. Small tumors can be resected surgically but for large cancers that have metastasized, treatment options are not many.

Our team of expert surgeons conduct adequate testing and staging of cancer before treatment. Liver resection is offered in removable tumors.

Authored by Dr. Deepak Varma, MBBS, MS (General Surgery)

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