When unhealthy cells grow and spread in the liver than it results in liver cancer. Primary liver cancer begins in the liver. Metastatic liver cancer is the cancer that spreads to the liver through some other organ.
Liver cancer includes some common benign tumors such as –
A rare type of liver cancer is usually seen in children. The early detection of this cancer can offer about 90% of survival rate.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC):
This is considered as the most primary liver cancers that start from hepatocyte cells. They can begin at multiple spots in the liver or can also start as a single tumor. Hepatocellular carcinoma begins in multiple spots in the liver in those people who have liver damage.
Hemangiosarcomas and Angiosarcomas:
They are considered as the fast growing liver cancers that start in the blood vessels in the liver. They can only be diagnosed when they are in their advanced stages.
This is considered as rare and can be effectively treated as compared to other types of liver cancer.
Bile Duct Cancers (Cholangiocarcinomas):
This type begins in the bile duct that is small tubes carrying bile to the gallbladder.
Metastatic cancer is the cancer that spreads to the bones from elsewhere in the body. Metastatic cancer spreads to a bone but it is still not known as bone cancer as the tumor cells are from the primary cancer.
The cancers that spread to the bone are –
Stage 1 :
There is the presence of only one tumor in the liver in this stage.
Here also in the second stage, one tumor is present that has spread to the blood vessels. There could also be more than 1 tumor that is of about 5cm.
In the third stage, only one tumor is present that is bigger than 5cm. It could also be possible that the cancer has moved beyond the liver to lymph nodes, blood vessels or to another organ.
At this last stage, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body that include bones or lungs along with lymph nodes or blood vessels.
Physical examination helps in determining symptoms or lumps that may suspect the presence of liver cancer. Some of the other tests that are performed for diagnosing liver cancer include –
A thin tube is used for observing liver and other organs within the abdominal cavity. A laparoscope can also be used along with a biopsy.
The blood tests also include liver enzymes and a serum marker test. The measurement of some substances associated to cancer can be done by performing serum marker test. An underlying liver problem is indicated with the help of liver enzymes.
The injection of a dye is done into an artery that shows tumors and liver tissues.
High-frequency sound waves from the body are transmitted by this procedure.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):
A computer, large magnet and radio waves are produced in this test that provides clear images of the human body.
Computed Tomography (CT scan):
This test also provides detailed images of the organs.
Percutaneous ethanol injection, surgery and chemotherapy are the three methods for treating liver cancer. Some of the surgical treatments include –
Total Hepatectomy and Liver Transplant :
Here in this procedure, the entire liver is removed and is replaced with another healthy liver from an organ donor.
Partial Hepatectomy :
In this procedure, a part of the liver is removed that ranges from a small wedge to an entire lobe.
Radio Frequency Ablation :
This procedure uses a probe along with electrodes for killing cancerous tissue.
Anti-cancer drugs are used in chemotherapy for destroying cancer cells or preventing them from reproducing. Chemoembolization of the hepatic artery is another type of chemotherapy used for treating liver cancer. In this the chemotherapy drugs are combined with another substance in order to block the artery. The aim is to destroy the tumor blood and then applying chemotherapy directly to the tumor.
During this therapy, ethanol is injected into a tumor for destroying the cancer. This therapy is not used frequently.