LIVER CANCER

Description

  • Cancer that begins in the cells of the liver
  • It destroys liver cells
  • Interferes with the ability of the liver to function normally

Symptoms

  • Losing weight without trying
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • General weakness and fatigue
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin and the eyes (Jaundice)
  • White, chalky stools
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Abdominal discomfort, pain, and tenderness

Causes

  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over many years
  • Having a long term Hepatitis viral infection
  • Haemochromatosis
  • Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Risk Factors

  • Chronic infection with HBV or HCV
  • Cirrhosis
  • Certain inherited liver diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Exposure to aflatoxins
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy diet

Diagnostic Tests

  • Blood tests
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Liver function tests
  • Liver biopsy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Staging the cancer

Treatment

  • Surgery to remove the tumor
  • Liver transplant surgery
  • Heating cancer cells
  • Freezing cancer cells
  • Injecting alcohol into the tumor
  • Injecting chemotherapy drugs into the liver
  • Placing beads filled with radiation in the liver
  • Radiation therapy
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Supportive (palliative) care

Medications

  • Sorafenib (Nexavar)

Prevention

  • Get the Hepatitis B Vaccine
  • Take Measures to Prevent Hepatitis C
  • Limit the amount of alcohol consumption
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Use caution with chemicals
  • Go for liver cancer screening in case any symptoms appear

Lifestyle Management

  • Learn enough about liver cancer to make decisions about the care
  • Keep friends and family close
  • Have a positive outlook
  • Don’t let the disease affect any decisions
  • Be in touch with the specialist
  • Search and join a support group
  • Drive away any negative thoughts