Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the liver, the largest organ in the body responsible for filtering toxins and producing bile.


What is liver cancer?

Liver cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the liver, the largest organ in the body responsible for filtering toxins and producing bile. Liver cancer may be primary, meaning it originates in the liver, or secondary, meaning it spreads to the liver from another part of the body.


Who's at risk for liver cancer?

Risk factors for liver cancer may include:

  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B or C
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Family history of liver cancer


What causes liver cancer?

The exact cause of liver cancer is not known, but it is believed to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Chronic infection with hepatitis B or C is a major risk factor for developing liver cancer.


How does liver cancer start?

Liver cancer can develop slowly over many years and may not cause any symptoms in its early stages. As the cancer grows, it may cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, weight loss, and jaundice.


What are the symptoms of liver cancer?

Symptoms of liver cancer may inclAbdominal pain or discomfort

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Easy bruising or bleeding


How is liver cancer diagnosed?

A healthcare provider may perform several tests to diagnose liver cancer. These tests may include:

  • Blood tests: These tests can measure levels of certain enzymes and proteins in the blood that may indicate liver cancer.
  • Imaging tests: These tests, such as ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI, can help detect any abnormalities in the liver.
  • Biopsy: This test involves removing a small sample of tissue from the liver to examine for cancer cells.


How can liver cancer be treated?

Treatment for liver cancer may depend on the stage and severity of the cancer and may include:

  • Surgery: This treatment involves removing the cancerous part of the liver.
  • Liver transplant: This treatment involves replacing the diseased liver with a healthy liver from a donor.
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: This treatment involves using drugs to kill cancer cells.


What complications may occur with liver cancer?

Complications of liver cancer may include:

  • Spread of cancer: Liver cancer can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones.
  • Liver failure: As the cancer progresses, it can interfere with the liver's ability to function properly, leading to liver failure.
  • Portal hypertension: Liver cancer can cause a buildup of pressure in the veins that carry blood to the liver, leading to portal hypertension.


How can I prevent liver cancer?

Prevention of liver cancer includes:

  • Getting vaccinated for hepatitis B: The hepatitis B vaccine can help protect against chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus, which is a major risk factor for liver cancer.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver and increase the risk of liver cancer.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Obesity is a risk factor for liver cancer, so maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce the risk.


Long-term management of liver cancer

Long-term management of liver cancer may involve ongoing monitoring and treatment to prevent relapse or the development of new complications. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan.


What is recent research saying about liver cancer?

Recent research has focused on the development of new and more effective treatments for liver cancer, including targeted therapy and immunotherapy. These treatments may help improve survival rates and quality of life for individuals with liver cancer.


Where can I go for more information on liver cancer?

The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute are both helpful resources for information on liver cancer. It is also important to work closely with a healthcare provider for guidance and support in managing liver cancer.