The liver isthe biggest gland in the human body. This reddish brown gland is located in theupper part of the abdominal cavity, below the diaphragm. It is responsible forthe storage of many nutrients and vitamins, but also for the production ofblood-clotting proteins. Additional but equally important roles includedetoxification of blood and the production of digestion bile.
Liver cancermay be primary or secondary. When the doctors diagnose primary liver cancer itmeans that it started in the liver tissue. Secondary or also called metastasizedcancer is the one which began in other parts of the human body and then spreadto the liver through the blood. Cancer cells are known to travel through theblood and spread, but the most common to affect the liver are colon, stomach,lung, pancreas and breast cancer.
Stages ofLiver Cancer
This diseasecan be staged using the TNM classification method, where the T stands for tumor,N for lymph nodes and M for metastasis. There is also another type of staging,when the liver cancer can be: localized and resectable, localized andunresectable, advanced or recurrent.
What AreExpected Survival Rates for Liver Cancer Patients
The stage ofthe tumor is therefore one of the major contributors to the prognosis of livercancer, and it also defines the treatment which can be used. Common treatmentincludes: surgical procedures to remove the cancer (if possible), and/or alsoradiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Survival rateare actually the chances the person has to survive the cancer for some specificperiod of time. The doctors can’t tell you what exact chances are, since it is notpossible to calculate them. They can only assume the chances, according to thediagnosis, treatment, your age, sex, other medical conditions and your reactionto the cancer treatment, comparing those to some earlier treated patients. Livercancer usually develops over period of time. It usually remains undetected,until the patients experience some symptoms. Therefore, it is very important tohave regular ultrasound and blood tests, if you belong to the high risk group forthis type of cancer. In most cases this disease affects older men, and mostpatients are men over the age of 60.
Because thecondition can remain undiagnosed for a long time, there are about 7% chances tosurvive 5 years after the initial diagnosis. When the cancer is resectable (canbe surgically removed) 30% of the patients are expected to survive for morethan 5 years. Most of the patients (even some 75% of them) who undergo a livertransplant because of the primary liver cancer usually survive these 5 years.