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Liver cancer

Liver Cancer Treatments

In global terms liver cancer is registered as the fourth most common cancer types, with quite a high mortality rates (70-80%). Your liver is a prominent organ with plenty of essential functions (over 400), but most importantly you rely on it when it comes to cleansing your body from toxins and processing fats.

Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) develops, when mutated cells in the liver start to ploriferate in an uncontrolled fashion and these cells refuse to commit cell suicide even if they are not needed. It is also referred to as primary liver cancer, whereas metastatic liver cancer is a disease that starts in another organ and spreads to the liver later. Liver cancer treatment in the latter case shows even lower success rates.
What can induce cell mutation and result in liver cancer?

Liver cancer is most often triggered by chirrosis or liver scarring due to:

  • Hepatitis virus infection
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Long term exposure to toxins
  • Hemochromatosis (high level of iron in the body)

 Other risk factors include

  •  Constant use of anabolic steroids
  • L-carnitine deficiency
  • Immune deficiency
  • Obesity

 Symtoms of Liver Cancer

 Liver cancer in the initial stage has no symptoms. When the following signs appear, treatment for liver cancer must be started immediately once the diagnosis has been made:

  •  Fever
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Yellowish skin and whites of the eye
  • Vomiting, nausea
  • General ill feeling

 Liver Cancer Treatment

 Early diagnosis can save your life, so regular testing is imperative if you have had hepatitis or you consume alcohol regularly. As the illness is asyptomatic in the early stages, liver cancer treatment is rarely started early enough to ensure healing with certainty.

 Liver Cancer Surgery

 Small, well-separable tumors can be removed surgically if liver cancer is diagnosed at an early stage. During liver cancer surgery, also called hepatectomy, the cancer is dissected along with some surrounding healthy tissue to reduce the risk of recurrence. 

The surgery is usually complemented with radiotherapy or chemotherapy cathetered directly to the targeted area to destroy residual abnormal cells.

 Another possibility for liver cancer surgery is transplantation. Liver transplant surgery is exclusively performed on early-stage patients whose liver only has cancer cells at a small section (maximum 5 cm long).

Treatment for liver cancer offers various non-surgical options.

 Liver cancer treatment in advanced stages mainly aims to increase the patient’s life span and the quality of life. If the illness has had the time to spread, chances of recovery are very low (about 5%).

There are several liver cancer treatment options to slow down the spread of cancer: 

  •  Chemotherapy injected directly into the liver
  • Radiotherapy, which means that high-potency energy beams are targeted at the location of the cancer to destroy or at least shrink cancerous tissue. 
  • Targeted drug therapy – Sorafenib tosylate is an orally administered drug used in liver cancer treatment that may block the ability of cancer cells to form new blood vessels
  • Cryoablation is a liver cancer treatment that makes use of liquid nitrogen to freeze  cancer cells.
  • Radiofrequency ablation is just the opposite of the former method, it uses electric heat to eliminate cancerous cells. The electric current is inducted into the cancerous tissue with fine needles inserted through the abdomen.