Liver Cancer, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Liver cancer is cancer that starts in the liver, and can spread to other organs in the body. This condition occurs when a compilation of cells in the liver mutates and forms tumors.

The liver is one of the organs in the body that has many important functions. Among other things to cleanse the blood of poisons and harmful substances such as alcohol and drugs, produce bile which helps digest nutrients for the body such as fat, and control blood clotting.

Liver Cancer, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Liver cancer is one of the five types of cancer that most cause death. Based on 2015 WHO research, liver cancer is responsible for more than 700,000 deaths, out of 9 million cancer deaths.

Types of Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is divided into primary liver cancer and secondary liver cancer. Primary liver cancer is cancer that grows or originates in the liver. The most common type of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma. Generally, this type of cancer occurs due to complications of liver disease, such as cirrhosis or inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).

Apart from hepatocellular carcinoma, there are also several types of primary liver cancer that are rare, including hepatoblastoma and angiosarcoma. Hepatoblastoma is a liver cancer that only attacks children. While angiosarcoma is a cancer that grows in blood vessel cells in the liver. Another rare type of primary liver cancer is cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer that develops in the bile duct.

Whereas secondary liver cancer is cancer that grows in other organs, then spreads to the liver (metastasis). Cancer from other organs can spread to the liver, but the most common are stomach cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer.

Staging of Liver Cancer

Just like other types of cancer, liver cancer is also divided into several stages or stages. This division explains the size and extent of cancer spread. That is, the higher the stage experienced, the more widespread the spread of cancer in a person.

Stadium A

There is one tumor measuring less than 5 cm, or there are 2-3 tumors with a size less than 3 cm. Liver function is still normal or very minimal if disturbed.

Stadium B

There are several large tumors in the liver, but it has not disrupted liver function. The patient's general condition is still good.

Stadium C

The cancer has spread to blood vessels, lymph nodes, or other body organs. At this stage, the patient's condition begins to deteriorate, but the liver still functions.

Stadium D

Liver cancer is accompanied by a deteriorating physical condition of the patient and impaired function of the liver, regardless of tumor size.

Symptoms and Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

Symptoms of liver cancer often only appear at an advanced stage. Generally, symptoms that appear include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • A buildup of fluid in the stomach
  • Swelling of the liver

Liver cancer can affect anyone, but it is more likely to occur in people with liver disease and HIV / AIDS, someone who is exposed to chemicals, or in patients undergoing radiation therapy and surgical removal of the gallbladder.

Treatment for Liver Cancer

Treatment of liver cancer includes the provision of medicines, radiation therapy, to liver transplants. The choice of method depends on the patient's condition, as well as the stage of the cancer. Some treatment options that can be done include:

  • Surgery
  • Tumor ablation
  • Embolization
  • Radiotherapy
  • Target Therapy

Liver cancer can be prevented, including by having safe sex and reducing alcohol consumption.