Cancer, liver

Other names: Hepatocellular carcinoma

DEFINITION

Liver cancer is Cancer that begins in the cells of your liver. Your liver is a football-sized organ that sits in the upper right portion of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above your stomach. The most common form of Liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which begins in the main type of liver cell (hepatocyte).

SYMPTOMS

CAUSES

Chronic infection with certain Hepatitis viruses can cause Liver cancer. Liver cancer occurs when liver cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA, causing them to grow out of control and form a Tumor.

RISK FACTORS

Factors increasing the risk of primary Liver cancer include chronic HBV or HCV infection, cirrhosis, certain inherited liver diseases, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, exposure to aflatoxins, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, write down symptoms, key personal information, list medications, consider taking a family member or friend along, and prepare questions for your doctor.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosing Liver cancer involves blood tests, imaging tests like ultrasound and CT scans, and liver biopsy. Staging tests determine the extent of the Cancer using CT, MRI, and bone scans.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment options include surgery, liver transplant surgery, cryoablation, radiofrequency ablation, alcohol injection into the Tumor, chemoembolization, radiation therapy, and targeted drug therapy.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

To reduce the risk of Cirrhosis: drink alcohol in moderation or not at all; maintain a healthy weight; use caution with chemicals. Get vaccinated against Hepatitis B and take measures to prevent Hepatitis C. Discuss Liver cancer screening with your doctor if you are at high risk.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Alternative treatments like acupressure, acupuncture, deep breathing, music therapy, and massage may help control pain in advanced Liver cancer cases.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Learn about Liver cancer for informed decision-making; keep friends and family close for support; find someone to talk to; make plans for end-of-life care if needed.


QUESTIONS

  1. What is the most common form of Liver cancer?

Hepatocellular carcinoma.

  1. What are some symptoms of Liver cancer?

Losing weight without trying.

Upper abdominal pain.

Yellow discoloration of the skin.

  1. What factors increase the risk of primary Liver cancer?

Chronic HBV or HCV infection.

Cirrhosis.

  1. How can one reduce the risk of Cirrhosis?

Drinking alcohol in moderation or not at all.

Maintaining a healthy weight.

  1. What are some alternative treatments for controlling pain in advanced Liver cancer?

Acupuncture.

Music therapy.

  1. When should you see a doctor if you suspect you may have Liver cancer?

If you experience any worrying signs or symptoms.

  1. How is Liver cancer diagnosed?

Through blood tests, imaging tests like ultrasound and CT scans, and liver biopsy.

  1. What lifestyle changes can help prevent Hepatitis C?

Avoiding unprotected sex unless certain of partner's health status.

  1. What treatment options are available for Liver cancer?

Surgery, liver transplant surgery, ablation techniques like cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation.

  1. Why is it important to discuss advance directives with your doctor when dealing with a life-threatening illness like Liver cancer?

To plan for end-of-life care if needed.