The liver is a soccer-ball-sized organ placed in the upper right region of the abdominal cavity, below the diaphragm and above the stomach, though its size varies depending on age and gender. Digestion, detoxification, regeneration or transformation of body structures, improvement of defence system, and halting bleeding are just a few of the functions of the liver. Primary liver cancers (attributed to primary liver cells) and secondary metastatic liver cancers (occurring due to cancer in other organs such as the large intestine and breast) are the two types of liver cancer, says Dr. Purnendu Bhowmik who is considered to be the best liver cancer doctor in Kolkata.
Liver Cancer Symptoms
In the early stages of primary liver cancer, most people show no signs or symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they could include the following:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and nausea
- Weakness and tiredness
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Yellowish colouration of skin and eyes (jaundice)
- White and chalky stools
Liver Cancer Causes
Liver cancer develops when the DNA of liver cells changes (mutates). The DNA of a cell is the material that contains the instructions for all of your body’s chemical processes. Changes in these instructions are caused by DNA mutations. As a result, cells may develop out of control and eventually form a tumour, which is a mass of malignant cells, explains the liver cancer specialist.
In some cases, such as with chronic hepatitis infections, the cause of liver cancer is known. However, liver cancer can occur in people who have no underlying illnesses, and the aetiology remains unknown.
Liver Cancer Diagnosis
The following tests and methods are used to diagnose liver cancer:
- Blood Tests: Abnormalities in liver function may be discovered through blood testing
- Imaging Tests: An ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI may be recommended by your doctor
- Sample Liver Tissue Testing: In order to make a definitive diagnosis of liver cancer, it may be required to remove a portion of liver tissue for laboratory testing.
During biopsy, your doctor takes a tissue sample from your liver by inserting a thin needle through your skin and into your liver. Doctors analyse the tissue under a microscope in the lab to check for cancer cells.
Liver Cancer Treatment
Liver cancer is usually treatable, but it might be challenging.
Your treatment will be determined by the following factors:
- Whether the cancer began in the liver (primary) or spread from another location (secondary)
- The extent of your liver cancer and the type you have
- It’s location
- If it has become widespread
- General well-being
Surgery, chemotherapy, use of heat to eliminate the cancer (thermal ablation), and application of targeted medicines are some of the treatment options for liver cancer.