Liver Cancer Treatment, Causes and Symptoms
Liver cancer also known as primary or metastasis hepatic carcinoma is a fairly rare form of cancer in the western world (1% of all cancers) but much more common in Africa and parts of Asia (10% to 50% of all cancers). It is much more prevalent in men and incidence increases with age. Liver cancer is rapidly fatal, usually within 6 months from gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hepatic failure or metastasis.
Types of Liver Cancer:
Most primary liver tumors are known as hepatomas (hepatocellular carcinoma and primary lower cell carcinoma). Some primary liver cancers originate in the bile duct and these are known as cholangiomas. Some rare liver cancers include Kupffer cell sarcoma and hepatoblastomas (which occur almost exclusively in children and are usually respectable and curable). Metastatic liver cancer is 20 times more common than primary liver cancer and after cirrhosis this is the leading form of liver related death.
Signs and Symptoms:
Liver cancer does not normally cause symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. Clinical effects of advanced liver cancers include:
1. A mass in the right upper side.
2. Tender, nodular liver on palpation
3. Severe pain in the epigastrium or upper right side
4. Weight loss, anorexia, weakness, fever
5. Occasional jaundice or ascites (fluid in the abdomen)
Causes of Liver Cancer:
The exact cause of liver cancer is unknown in adults but in children it may be a genetic disease. Adult liver carcinomas may result from environmental exposure to carcinogens such as mold, contrast media (no longer in use), androgens and oral estrogens, the hepatitis B virus or by damage to the liver due to cirrhosis caused by too much prolonged imbibing of alcohol.
Liver cancer is difficult to diagnose in the presence of cirrhosis, but several tests can help identify it: The combination of an imaging study (ultrasound, CT, or MRI