Things To Know About Liver Cancer
The liver is a vital organ of the body which is essential for us to continue living. The location of the liver is under the right side of the ribcage. The liver is capable of growing back when part of it is removed due to diseases or health problems. The average person can live with just 10% of his liver functioning. It has many functions including: blood purification or cleansing, control of sugar as well as cholesterol levels, bile production for the digestion of fat, generation of blood cells, drug and alcohol detoxification, and the formation of clotting agents for the blood among others.
Like that of the other organs, the liver's cells follow a specific process of division to replace old and dying cells. This process is precise and follows a sequence that is mapped out in the genes. From a single liver cell, liver cancer may ensue when cell division becomes erratic and disorganized. This process of erratic division results in the formation of a tumor which can either be a benign or a malignant tumor with the latter being the dangerous one. Malignant tumors have the ability to spread into other healthy organs and cause these organs to fail. The process of the tumor's spreading is referred to as metastasis. This potential to spread to other organs and damage them is the main reason why cancer is very dangerous.
Causes of liver cancer
These are some of the things that increase a person's risk of having liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis causes changes in the liver cells which have been connected to hepatocellulat carcinoma (HCC) which is the most prevalent kind of liver cancer. According to studies, 75% of people with liver cancer around the world had been infected with Hepatitis B while Hepatitis A on the other hand is not any way connected to liver cancer.
Cirrhosis is the condition wherein the liver shrinks in size and becomes fatty and fibrous. There are three things that cause cirrhosis: too much alcohol intake, presence of too much iron in the liver, and the rare condition Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency . 20% of patients that develop cirrhosis because of too much iron progresses to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) while 40% of those that had cirrhosis because of Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency develop HCC.
Miscellaneous irritants like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and thorotrast which is use in radiology studies are connected with a kind of liver cancer called angiosarcoma.
Symptoms of Liver Cancer
The most widespread symptoms exhibited by liver cancer patients include the formation of a very big tumor at the liver as well as the liver's failure to function properly. Here are other symptoms of liver cancer: weight loss, pain in the stomach, jaundice, blood clotting, swelling, and fatigue among others.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Liver cancer is not that common and its symptoms are similar to that of other health conditions leading to a delay in diagnosis until the time wherein the tumor in the liver has already grown. A lot of patients usually get diagnosed when it is already too late, the disease is already in the advance stages which means treatment may no longer be effective or drastic measures like liver transfer may be done. A comprehensive physical exam will look for any indications that a tumor may be in the stomach area as well as liver failure symptoms like swelling of the body as well as bruising.
The liver is a very vital organ of the body necessary for the continuation of life. Proper treatment is critical once diagnosis has been done. Making the right decisions and knowing all your options for this disease can allay your anxiety with the knowledge that you have done all that you can.