Liver Cancer

What is Liver Cancer?

Cancerous tumours of the liver can be primary cancer – the cancer starting in the liver itself or the secondary cancer – cancer which start in the other part of the body and has spread to the liver.

The liver is the largest part of the human organ and also the primary heat producing organ. It is situated in the upper part of the abdomen on the right side of the body. Liver is an extremely important organ and perform many functions. The functions that liver perform includes production of proteins, also helps the blood to clot and prevent excessive bleeding.

The liver also destroys harmful substance such as alcohol, and gets rid of waste products. It is also responsible for breaking down food containing carbohydrates and fats so that they can be used by the body for energy.

There are two different parts of primary liver cancer:

Hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) – It comes from the main cells of the liver (hepatocytes). It is usually confined to the liver, but can spread to other organ. It is most common in men and occurs mostly in people with a liver disease called cirrhosis.

Cholangiocarcinoma– This is the second type of primary liver cancer or bile duct cancer, because it starts in the cells lining the bile ducts. And it is most common in women.

The other primary tumour in the liver are non-cancerous (benign) and do not spread to the other parts of the body.

What Causes or Increases Risk for Liver Cancer?

People who develop hepatoma also have a condition called cirrhosis of the liver. It is throughout the liver which is due to different causes including infections and heavy alcohol drinking over a period of time.

Infection with either the hepatitis B or C virus can lead to liver cancer and also the cause of cirrhosis, which increase the risk of developing hepatoma.

What is Vinyl Chloride?

Vinyl chloride is a toxic chemical used in manufacturing. It is a colorless gas. It burns easily and it is not stable at high temperature. Vinyl chloride can cause liver cancer, brain cancer, angiosarcoma, and other health problems in people who are exposed to vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is used to make a variety of plastic products, including pipes, wire and cable coatings, and packaging materials.

Vinyl chloride is also called as chloroethene, chloroethylene, and ethylene monochloride.

What are the symptoms of Liver Cancer?

In the early stages of liver there are often no symptoms. People sometimes notice a vague discomfort in the upper abdomen and may become painful.

The common symptoms are:

  • Weight Loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Breast swelling in males
  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Jaundice

Treatments for Liver Cancer?

Doctor will plan your treatment taking into account a number of factors which includes your age, your general health, whether it has spread beyond the liver, and the type and size of cancer.

Surgery – It is the most effective treatment for liver cancer, but is not always possible due to the size and the position of the tumour. And sometime it is not possible for surgery since the cancer has spread beyond the liver.

Liver transplantation – It is the replacement of one liver with another.

Chemotherapy – The use of drugs to destroy the cancerous cells.

Radiation therapy – The use of high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells and reduce the tumors.