Liver CancerLiver cancer occurs when the malignant growths appear on the liver. The liver can also be affected by cancer which has spread from the other part of the body. In the early stages of liver cancer, you may not feel any symptoms. As the cancer progresses, you may notice symptoms such as appetite loss, unexplained loss of weight, pain in the upper part of the abdomen, swelling of the abdomen and jaundice. Some of the symptoms include nausea followed by vomiting and fever. You may also feel weak and tired.
CausesThere are various causes of liver cancer. It can be a consequence of some other disease, the most commonly hepatitis B or C, or cirrhosis. Cirrhosis causes scarring and damage to the liver, which makes you prone to liver cancer. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol are at higher risk of liver diseases and liver cancer. Hereditary liver diseases can also increase the risk of cancer. One of the causes of liver cancer is aflatoxin, a substance produced by fungi which can be found in rice, peanuts, wheat or corn. Such food may become contaminated if it is not properly stored. Long term exposure to certain chemicals, such as vinyl chloride, can increase the risk of liver cancer. People who have diabetes and who are obese are more prone to liver cancer.
Stages of Liver CancerThe stages of liver cancer are determined according to fact whether it has spread to the other organs. In the first stage, the cancer is localized in the liver. The second stage involves surrounding blood vessels. In the third stage you may develop more growths on the liver and the cancer may spread to surrounding organs. In the fourth stage the cancer has spread to the other organs in the body.
TreatmentThe treatment of liver cancer depends on the stage and your overall health. Besides, radiation and chemotherapy, your doctor may recommend a surgery. In the first stage, the surgery will involve the removal of the affected part of the liver. Cancerous cells can be also removed by other techniques, such as freezing or heating, or injecting chemicals which will destroy the cancer. In some cases, in the liver is severely damaged, you may need a liver transplant.
PreventionYou should protect yourself from the liver diseases which can lead to cancer. You can get vaccinated against hepatitis B. Hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual intercourse or through sharing a needle with an infected person. You should practice safe sex and be careful when you use a needle. Avoid drinking too much alcohol and keep your weight normal.