What is the main cause of liver cancer?

What is the main cause of liver cancer?

Liver is a vital organ of our body which plays a major role in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolic processes of our body. It helps in absorption of vital nutrients and elimination of the toxic waste. Liver has a significant cleansing action on blood that saves the body from the action of harmful bacteria. Liver also acts as a reservoir for storage of nutrients such as iron and vitamins. Apart from this, various substances that help in coagulation processes is also produced in the liver.

Given the importance of liver, it is notable to observe that liver cancer is the 5th most common cancer globally.

When an uncontrolled division of cancer cells occurs in the liver, the type of cells involved determine the classification of the cancer

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma– It is made of the liver tissue and is the most common type of liver cancer. It may develop as a single tumor or sometimes multiple small nodules spread throughout the liver.
  • Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma– It is the cancer of the bile duct that carries the bile from liver & gall bladder to the intestines for easy digestion of fatty substances.

When liver is not the only malignant site in a patient, it is important to determine whether liver is the Primary site or cancer from somewhere else has spread to liver making it secondary (metastatic) site of cancer.

Who is most likely to get liver cancer?

The definite cause of liver cancer has not been defined yet but there are several factors that have been found to have a direct association with malignant conditions of liver

  1. Prior conditions of liver: When the functioning of the liver is damaged due to several illnesses, the likelihood of developing a cancerous condition increases:
    – Chronic Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, and even Hepatitis D
    – Liver cirrhosis
    – Metabolic liver disease (particularly nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
  2. Addiction to smoking or alcohol – Persistent alcohol consumption and smoking can damage the liver cells by inducing oxidative stress and inflammation that leads to liver cirrhosis over the years ultimately causing liver malignancy.
  3. Exposure to dietary toxins such as aflatoxins and aristolochic acid.
  4. Lifestyle – Though a direct correlation between our lifestyle and liver cancer has not been acknowledged yet but various studies have suggested the same. Unhealthy diet, inappropriate methodologies to manage stress, and inadequate dietary patterns consisting of high amounts of sugar, and preservative rich processed foods deplete the immune function gradually depriving the body of the nutritive elements that are required for a sustained living.

How do you feel when you have liver cancer?

In those with early stage of liver cancer, the symptoms might not be present. In later stages, the following symptoms may be present due to impact on the liver:

  • Pain in the abdomen with nausea, fever and unintended weight loss
  • Fullness in the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
  • Swelling on the abdomen

If the liver tumor has affected other parts of the body, the following symptoms may also be observed:

  • Increased level of calcium in the blood (hypocalcaemia)
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Increased red blood cells count
  • High cholesterol levels

You can read more about liver cancer here:https://bit.ly/3pwByWS

Does liver cancer spread fast?

Live cancer may spread to other parts of the body but mostly in advanced stages. The likelihood of metastasis is less in Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) whereas the probability is more in the rare types of liver cancers, Angiosarcoma and Hemangiosarcoma.

The most common sites of liver metastasis arebones and lungs.

What is the best way to treat liver cancer?

When you visit an oncologist for liver cancer treatment, he may share various treatment options with you after consideration of the case details. These may be:

  • Surgery – only tumors in early stages are eligible for surgery.
  • Chemotherapy – This treatment option is considered when the tumor is not resectable and other local treatments do not work.
  • Radiation – It is not the first choice of treatment but is opted for when surgery is contraindicated and other treatments have been proved infective
  • Chemoembolisation – This mode of treatment is adopted mainly when either the tumor size is larger than 5 cm or there are multiple tumors present.
  • Targeted Therapy – usually employed in metastatic cases as the drugs are directly injected into the bloodstream and is spread in the entire body.
  • Ablation – It is the destruction of the tumor without removing them. It is mostly done in tumors with size smaller than 3 cm.

These treatments may be used in various combinations to achieve best results for the patients. But none of these treatments come without alternate effects.

A liver cancer patient has to suffer a lot as his weight, sleep and appetite are drastically affected especially in the advanced stages.

For such patients, a painless like immunotherapy can manage the symptoms effectively and help the patient relive the normal lifestyle.

What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is an alternative treatment for cancer that acts on the immune system and reinstates its function. The cellular action of immunotherapy helps boost the growth of the normal cells and restricting the proliferation of malignant ones.

When a treatment does not have side effects, it is one less thing to worry about. Also, immunotherapy helps the patient recover in a seamless gradual manner. The patient gains confidence as the treatment progresses due to positive effects of the treatment.

You can hear about the effectiveness of this treatment from our patients here

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