Liver cancer also called hepatic cancer, is cancer that starts in the liver named as primary liver cancer. Liver cancer that has migrated to the liver from other organs by metastasis is called secondary liver cancer. Cancers that originate from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (colon cancer), renal cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer and by metastasis migrated to the liver are secondary liver cancer.
What is liver cancer?
The liver is one of the largest organs of the human body is placed below the right lung under the ribcage. It has two lobes, right and left. Cancer that starts in the liver is stated as primary liver cancer. Most common type of primary cancer that found in the liver is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and affects male more than female. HCC may have different growth pattern:
In some patients, a large single tumor is formed in or on the liver and later spread to other parts of the liver.
In some other patients, small cancer nodules are formed throughout the liver and mostly found in patients with cirrhosis of the liver.
There are other types of liver cancers named intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma, which are not common.
Secondary liver cancer, which is originated from other organs but metastasized and spread to the liver; the name of cancer is described after the name of that particular originating organ.
What are the causes of the liver cancer?
Like any type of cancer in any organ, the cause of liver cancer is not clear. But it is known that like other cancer, liver cancer also occurs when cells of liver start mutation in their DNA and become malignant. However, following risk factors increases the probability of happening of liver cancer:
What are the symptoms of liver cancer?
Liver cancer does not show any symptom at its early stage. When it grows to advance stage the following signs and symptoms may appear:
What are the treatments for liver cancer?
Unfortunately, symptoms of liver cancer do not appear at the early stage and results to little chance for curing the disease. However, doctors can reduce the growth of tumor in the liver and increase the life expectancy during the following treatment:
Authored By Dr G Parthasarathy - Surgical Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad