Liver Cancer Stage 4
Liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma, is cancer that is formed in the tissues of the liver. This cancer in early stages generally doesn’t present any symptoms therefore this cancer is often called “silent disease”. Liver cancer is usually detected in advanced stages. After making a diagnosis, a doctor needs to determine the stage of the liver cancer to choose proper treatment.
Liver Cancer Risk Factors
Exact cause of the liver cancer is unknown but there are certain risk factors of developing this disease. Risk factors associated to the liver cancer include the age of individual (people over 60 are at highest risk), family history of the liver cancer, ethnicity, gender (men more likely develop this cancer). Certain conditions also increase the risk factor such as obesity, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, chronic infection with hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) and certain inherited liver diseases. Other risk factors include smoking, alcohol consumption, prolonged exposure to aflatoxins, and long term intake of anabolic steroids or drinking water polluted with arsenic.
Stages of Liver Cancer
Staging of the liver cancer refers to extent of the disease. Stage one means that the liver tumor is small and located in a single area of the liver. Liver cancer in this phase can be surgically removed. Stage four is a final stage and refers to advanced liver cancer that metastasized to other distant organs. In this stage, liver cancer usually spreads to the bones and lungs. Stage of the cancer can be determined with the help of imaging tests such as CT scan, MRI, bone scan and ultrasound.
Symptoms of Stage 4 Liver Cancer
Stage 4 liver cancer includes following symptoms:
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- High body temperature
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the upper right part of abdomen
- Weakness or feeling very tired
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Swollen abdomen
- Loss of normal liver function
Treatment for Stage 4 Liver Cancer
Stage 4 liver cancer is incurable. Liver transplant can be the only way to survive unless the cancer has spread to distant organs. Usually, in this stage cancer has spread beyond the liver to lungs, bones kidneys and other organs in the body. Patients usually receive pain killers to alleviate the pain.
Stage 4 Liver Cancer Prognosis
Prognosis depends on age, gender, general mental and physical condition and the way patient responds to the treatment. Unfortunately, stage 4 liver cancer results in mortal outcome. Palliative therapy is the only option to decrease the pain and relieve other symptoms caused by liver cancer. Stage 4 liver cancer 5-year survival rate is 3.5%.