Liver Cancer

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

Possible causes

The cause is not completely clear, however infection of certain hepatitis viruses can be a cause. Other risk factors include:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Diabetes
  • 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.

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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
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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
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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