Liver cancer is cancer that originates in the liver. It is also known as hepatic cancer or primary hepatic cancer.
There are several types of cancers which occurs in the liver, but the most common is hepatocellular carcinoma. The liver is made up mainly of cells called hepatocytes. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) begins in the hepatocyte. It occurs mostly in patients suffering from chronic liver diseases, such as cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection. This is the most common type of primary liver cancer.
Other types of liver cancer include intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma.
Cancer can also be metastatic, which means cancer that originates in other parts of the body, but spreads to the liver.
Some symptoms of liver cancer include:
- Loss of weight
- Loss of appetite.
- Pain in the upper part of the abdomen.
- Swelling in the abdomen.
- Nausea, vomiting.
- Jaundice or yellow discoloration to skin or eyes.
Some major risk factors that increase the risk of liver cancer include :
Chronic HBV or HCV infection: Chronic infection with the HBV (hepatitis B virus) or HCV (hepatitis C virus)
Cirrhosis. Cirrhosis increases the risk of developing liver cancer as this is a progressive disease and causes scar tissue to form in your liver.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Accumulation of fat in the liver increases the risk of liver cancer.
Excessive alcohol consumption. Excessive consumption of alcohol daily over a period of time can lead to irreversible damage to the liver and thus increases the risk of liver cancer.
Inherited liver diseases. Example: Hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease can increase the risk of liver cancer.
How can you reduce your risk of Liver Cancer
Reducing the risk of Cirrhosis: The risk of cirrhosis can be avoided by healthy lifestyles, which included drinking alcohol in moderation, ie. Limiting the amount of alcohol intake.
Getting hepatitis B vaccination
Taking measures to prevent the risk of hepatitis C. This includes
- Not engaging in unprotected sex, unless being certain that the partner is not infected with HBV or HCV.
- Not using intravenous drugs or injecting illegal drugs, or making sure the needle is sterile in case you do.
Non Surgical Management of Liver Cancer
Radiofrequency Ablation – RFA
Microwave Ablation – MWA