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Liver Cancer Overview

As known liver is the large, complex organ performing various vital functions like th bile production, removal of alcohol and toxins from the blood.

The malignant growth of cells in the liver results in development of liver cancer.

This disease is often considered as a result of liver diseases complications for example the hepatitis disease or the cirrhosis.

Types of Liver Cancer

The liver cancer is of two types the primary and the secondary. There are several types of primary liver cancer, which originate in the liver and are much less common than metastatic liver cancer or secondary liver cancer.

The liver is a common site for metastatic cancer, which is cancer that has spread from its area of origin (e.g., breast cancer, lung cancer). Liver cancer is hard to detect in its early stage as this disease shows no symptoms. The liver cancer symptoms which may be predicted in its later stage include weight loss, lack of appetite, jaundice and abdominal pain or swelling.

The diagnosis of this disease involves certain tests and procedures like the blood tests, ultra sound, CAT scan and the MRI. Biopsy may be performed for confirming the presence of the disease.
 
If the cancer is confined to one part of the liver and is detected early, it may be curable by surgery. Other possible treatments include radiation, chemotherapy and ablation, a procedure that involves the use of alcohol, radio waves or cold to destroy tumors. In some cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.

Liver Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rate

As liver cancer is rarely discovered early and is difficult to control with current treatments, the prognosis is often poor. No completely accurate screening test for liver cancer exists.
 
Liver cancer can be cured only when it is found at an early stage (before it has spread) and only if the patient is healthy enough to have an operation. However, treatments other than surgery may be able to control the disease and help the patients live long and feel better.

However studies reveal that very few cases of liver cancers are found in the early stages and can be removed by surgery. It is estimated that less than 30% of patients having surgery are able to have their cancer completely removed.

Unfortunately the overall 5-year relative survival rate from liver cancer is about 9%. This low figure is due to the reason that people with liver cancer also have cirrhosis of the liver, which itself can be fatal.

Liver Cancer Prevention

One thing is for sure that liver cancer prevention is not that easy. The secondary liver cancer cannot be prevented but some chances of preventing primary liver cancer do exist.

The best methods of liver cancer prevention include protecting oneself from hepatitis B and C and also from other liver diseases like the cirrhosis and many others. Hepatitis B vaccine helps to prevent it from happening. For hepatitis C no vaccine exists therefore taking certain precautionary measures prove useful.

  • Learn about viral hepatitis is and how it's transmitted.
  • Know the health status of any sexual partner to avoid any future complications.
  • To inject drugs use a clean needle: Always use sterilized disposal equipment
  • Avoid body piercing and tattooing, avoid or limit alcohol, avoid medications that may cause liver damage which lead to liver cancer
  • Liver filters every substance ingested, inhaled or applied to the skin. For that reason, as much as possible avoid exposure to toxic substances, including pesticides on foods and suspected carcinogens in shampoos and cosmetics.

 

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