Autumn Kitabjian Pd. 7/8
- Losing weight without trying
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Upper abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- White/chalky stools
- Lump or pain on right side
How Liver Cancer Works/Details
- Begins in Liver cells
- Most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, begins in the main type of liver cell (hepatocyte).
- Occurs when liver cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA
The cause is not completely clear, however infection of certain hepatitis viruses can be a cause. Other risk factors include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Accumulation of fat in liver
Heredity can surely have an influence on one's risk of getting liver cancer, but it is not a definite cause.
Risk factors in the environment such as inhaling smoke is also a risk factor, however it doesn't directly cause liver cancer.
A great way to decrease the chances of getting liver cancer is to get the Hepatitis B vaccination. Also, not participating in risk factors such as smoking, being overweight, and not getting a good amount of exercise are beneficial. One should also limit exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic, and early detection of liver cancer is key.
How is it treated?
- Surgery - Have cancerous liver tissue removed along with a bit of surrounding healthy tissue.
- Live transplant surgery - Liver taken out and replaced with healthy liver from donor
- Localized treatments - Heating cancer cells through radiofrequency ablation, freezing cancer cells using liquid nitrogen, injecting alcohol into tumor
- Radiation therapy - High powered energy such as x-rays used to shrink tumors
- Drug therapy - Infecting abnormalities within a tumor, stops cancer from progressing
Diagnosis can be done through several different tests.
- Blood tests may reveal abnormalities
- Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT's, or MRI's
- Removing sample of liver tissue
Who is affected?
- Risks get higher as you get older
- Average age in U.S. of getting liver cancer is 63 years
- This year, an estimated 39,230 adults will die from liver cancer
- A leading cause of deaths worldwide
- Seen more often in men than women