Symptoms and Treatments of Liver Cancer

Liver cancer, also known as hepatic cancer, is a type of cancer that starts in the liver. The liver is an essential organ located in the upper right part of the abdomen that plays a critical role in many bodily functions, including detoxifying the blood, producing bile, and regulating glucose levels.

There are two main types of liver cancer: primary liver cancer and secondary liver cancer. Primary liver cancer starts in the liver itself and is further divided into two subtypes: hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma. HCC is the most common type of primary liver cancer and starts in the cells that make up the liver. Cholangiocarcinoma starts in the bile ducts.

Secondary liver cancer, also known as metastatic liver cancer, occurs when cancer cells from another part of the body, such as the colon or lung, spread to the liver.

Risk factors for liver cancer include chronic infection with hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis of the liver, excessive alcohol consumption, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Individuals with a family history of liver cancer may also be at a higher risk.

Symptoms of liver cancer may include abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). These symptoms, however, are often non-specific and may also be caused by other conditions, so it is important to consult a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

Diagnosis of liver cancer typically involves a physical exam, blood tests, imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI, and a biopsy. Treatment options for liver cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The best course of treatment will depend on the stage and type of liver cancer and overall health of the individual.

It is essential to have regular check-ups and screenings, especially if you have risk factors for liver cancer. Making lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol consumption, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can also help reduce the risk of developing liver cancer.

Liver cancer is a serious condition that can have severe consequences if not detected and treated early. It is important to be aware of the risk factors and to consult a healthcare provider if you have any concerns. With early detection and proper treatment, the outlook for liver cancer can be improved.