What are the types of liver cancer (Hepatocellular carcinoma)?
There are mainly five types of liver cancer based upon the type of cell in the liver.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common type of primary liver cancer which affects the main liver cells called hepatocytes. People with cirrhosis and men are more prone to get Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
Fibrolamellar carcinoma is rare liver cancer, it comes as a subtype of Hepatocellular carcinoma and usually seen in healthy teens and adults under 40 years old. Interestingly, people diagnosed as Fibrolamellar carcinoma is not usually associated with liver cirrhosis or Hepatitis B or C infection.
Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer)
Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare liver cancer of the bile ducts, also categorized under primary liver cancer. The carcinoma begins in the section of ducts inside the liver is called intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
Angiosarcoma a type of rare liver cancer affects the blood vessels of the liver; it is commonly seen in the elderly population. Angiosarcoma is also known as soft tissue sarcoma or haemangiosarcoma.
Hepatoblastoma is a kind of rare primary liver cancer that mainly affects children under 3 years old.
How liver cancer is diagnosed?
Liver cancer is diagnosed by performing following tests and procedures;
It is not possible to diagnose hepatic cancer by doing normal blood tests. A specific blood test is done to find levels of alfa-fetoprotein in serum (AFP). Increased levels of AFP indicate presence of liver cancer. Sometimes the doctor may suggest imaging studies such as a CT or MRI scan. Liver biopsy is another method used to identify malignant or benign tumour. It is done is by removing tissue from liver and examining under the microscope, liver biopsy can be done along with CT scan. Another method to identify liver cancer is by doing laparoscopy, in this procedure the surgeon assesses the signs of hepatocellular carcinoma by inserting a flexible tube with a camera and light at the tip (laparoscope) by making a small incision in the abdomen.
What are the prevention methods for liver cancer?
When it comes to prevention of liver cancer, it is really important to maintain a healthy lifestyle by doing regular exercise and following a balanced diet. Also, avoid hepatitis infection and exposure to cancer-causing substances such as aflatoxins, a toxin found on agricultural crops such as maize.
What causes liver cancer?
In some scenarios the cause of liver cancer is identified, for instance chronic hepatitis infection damages the DNA in the liver cells and cause liver cancer. Sometimes liver cancer occurs in patients with no underlying health conditions and it's not clear what causes it.
What are the symptoms of liver cancer?
Most of the time the Signs and symptoms of liver cancer do not show up until the later stages, but sometimes the signs and symptoms may show up in the beginning stage.
Listed below are the common symptoms of liver cancer of hepatic cancer:
You may notice unplanned Weight loss, lack of appetite, nausea or vomiting and a feeling of fullness after having a small meal.
Enlarged liver & spleen, pain in the right shoulder blade, abdominal pain and swelling
Itching and Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
People with hepatic cancer may experience fever, enlarged veins on the belly that can be seen through the skin, and abnormal bruising or bleeding.
Some signs and symptoms of hepatic cancer include increased blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia), Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia) and high cholesterol levels
What are the main risk factors affecting liver cancer Treatment?
There are many factors which affects the liver cancer treatment which includes
Certain liver conditions: - Non-alcoholic fatty liver - Liver cirrhosis developed due to Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Diabetes: Poorly managed type 2 diabetes can make fatty liver and could make the liver cancer worse.
How liver cancer is treated?
Treatment of liver cancer depends upon various factors, it includes the extent of the liver cancer, patients age, health conditions and personal preferences.
Surgery: In liver surgery, the liver cancer cells and small portion of healthy liver tissue is removed to promote liver health.
Liver transplant surgery: In liver transplant surgery the diseased liver of patient is replaced by whole or partial healthy liver from another person.
Heating cancer cells. This is a minimally invasive procedure; the cancerous cells are ablated by using heat generated from medium frequency electric current.
Freezing cancer cells: liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the cancer cells with the help of a surgical instrument (cryoprobe)
Alcohol injection: In this method alcohol is directly injected to the tumour to treat liver cancer.
Injecting Chemotherapy drugs: Injecting chemotherapy drugs directly to the liver is known as chemoembolization, it can be done as stand-alone treatment or in combination with ablation or surgery.