Liver cancer is a cancerous disease that first affects the cells of the liver. This kind of cancer is the most common cancer form in the world. However, in the United States it is, for some reason, uncommon yet gradually increasing. In the United States, liver cancer is commonly a metastatic cancer that begins in the another part of the body (typically the colon, lung or breast) and migrates to the liver. As in any other kind of serious disease, the early diagnosis is very important. It is much easier to fight the disease when the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage. Treatments are also often simpler and more likely to be effective. Even for those cancers where survival overall is poor, the chances of surviving are better the earlier the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Unfortunately, most people do not have obvious signs of the disease at the early stage.
Liver cancer prognosis
In a nutshell, cancer prognosis is a medical estimation regarding the course and effect of the disease. The prognosis concerning liver cancer depends on many different factors such as: the type of cancer, the stage of the disease and whether it spreads from the place at which it first arose as a primary tumor to distant locations in the body. No matter what the doctors predict, the course of the disease may still develop in another direction. Before starting treatment, a patient may want to get a second opinion about the diagnosis, the stage of cancer, and the treatment plan. Once definitely confirmed, liver cancer should be treated very seriously and patient is to make sure that nothing else interferes with the medical treatment.
The doctor’s opinion will usually depend on whether both lobes of the liver are affected, on size of the tumor and developmental stage of the cancer, and whether a patient suffers from cirrhosis. At an early stage, the tumor or whole liver can be removed surgically and replaced with a transplant. In the cases where cancer migrates from the liver to another organ, the only treatment will consist of providing comfort care to the patient. the patient will be advised to follow a low fat diet, eat a lot of fruit and vegetables combined with vitamin and mineral supplements and get enrolled in a physical activity.
Five-year relative survival rates for liver cancer by race and sex are:
- 7.4 % for caucasian males
- 10.6 %t for caucasian females
- 5.5 % for black males
- 4.6 % for black females
Five-year relative liver cancer survival rates depending on the stage of liver cancer, when first diagnosed, are:
- 19.0 % for localized (early stage)
- 6.6 % for regional (when it is spread to regional lymph nodes)
- 3.4 % for distant (already migrated to other organs)
- 3.3 % for unstaged (unknown stage)