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Liver Cancer - Causes, Symptoms, Stages, Risk Factor, Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on Sep 06, 2021 and last reviewed on Apr 21, 2022   -  5 min read


Liver cancer more commonly occurs due to the spread of some other cancer to the liver than the cancer of the liver itself. Please read the article to know more about liver cancer, its causes, symptoms, stages, risk factor, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment

Liver Cancer -  Causes, Symptoms, Stages, Risk Factor, Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment


Liver, the largest gland present in the human body, weighs about 1500 mg. It is located in the upper right abdomen region and extends to the upper left abdomen under the diaphragm. The liver has two lobes, the right lobe and the left lobe. The blood supply to the liver comes from the hepatic artery and the portal vein. This blood flows out of the liver using the hepatic vein into the portal vein. The microscopic structures present in the liver are hepatocytes with mesenchymal cells and bile duct cells.

What Are the Functions of the Liver?

What Is Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer is cancer that occurs in the cells of the liver. It is also called hepatic cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma.

What Are the Causes of Liver Cancer?

It is most commonly seen in people with chronic liver diseases like cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C or hepatitis B infections. Other causes are:

What Are the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer?

The symptoms are usually uncommon in the early stages of liver cancer. Symptoms during the later stages of the disease include,

Who Are All at Risk for Liver Cancer?

What Are the Stages of Liver Cancer?

  1. Stage 1 Liver Cancer - A single mass in the liver that does not spread to any blood vessels.

  2. Stage 2 Liver Cancer - A single mass in the liver has invaded the blood vessels or multiple tumors that are less than 5 centimeters in size.
  3. Stage 3 Liver Cancer - It is divided into:

4. Stage 4 Liver Cancer - They are further divided into:

What Are the Diagnostic Methods of Liver Cancer?

What Are the Differential Diagnosis of Liver Cancer?

How to Treat a Patient With Liver Cancer?

Liver transplantation is the most effective treatment for patients with liver cancer. The common types of treatment done for liver cancer are surgery, radiofrequency ablation, radiation therapy, and percutaneous ethanol injection.

1. Surgery

Two types of surgery done are:

2. Radiofrequency Ablation - Thisis one of the most common ablation methods used to treat small tumors. Here a thin needle is passed into the tumor through the skin, and high-frequency radio waves are passed through it, which heats the tumor and destroys the cancer cells.

3. Percutaneous Ethanol Injection - This is the first ablative technique used to treat liver cancer. The alcohol is directly injected into the tumor to destroy the cancer cells, which leads to the complete ablation of about 70 percent of the cancer cells. This technique is used when the tumor size is less than or equal to 3 centimeters.

4. Radiation Therapy - It is highly effective in controlling early-stage cancer. Radiation segmentectomy is the minimally invasive procedure used in people with early-stage cancer who cannot tolerate the standard therapy.

5. Targeted Drug Therapy - Targeted therapy is different from chemotherapy. Here the drugs focus only on the cancer cells exempting the healthy cells.

6. Immunotherapy - In this technique, drugs improve the immune system to kill the cancer cells.

7. Palliative Care - This method helps relieve pain and other symptoms from a severe illness. Palliative care is given when the patient is undergoing aggressive treatments like radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or surgery.

8. Chemotherapy - The doctor uses drugs to destroy the cancer cells and stop them from replicating further. Chemotherapy can be done either through pills or injections systemically to travel throughout the entire body.

How to Prevent Liver Cancer?

While no one can prevent liver cancer, you can potentially reduce your risk by following healthy lifestyle measures like regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, taking limited amounts of alcohol, and controlling weight. It is also essential to avoid infection with hepatitis B and C viruses.


Last reviewed at:
21 Apr 2022  -  5 min read




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