The liver, an important organ of your body, gets rid of substances that can harm your body and breaks down food into energy. When cancer cells start to grow inside the liver, it is called liver cancer.
Types of Liver Cancer
Liver cancer doctors classify liver cancers into two categories
- Primary liver cancers – these tumours develop from the liver tissues.
- Metastatic or secondary liver cancers – these tumours start to grow in other body parts, which spread to the liver.
Common liver cancers
- Hepatocellular carcinoma – usually, this type of cancer coexists with other liver diseases
- Gallbladder carcinoma – this cancer is found in gallbladder tissues and has no obvious symptoms until the late stages
- Cholangiocarcinoma – this type of cancer is found in the bile ducts
Things you should know about liver cancer
What causes liver cancer?
Primary liver cancer can occur because of many reasons, such as alcohol abuse, hepatitis B and C, congenital disabilities, chronic infection and cirrhosis. More than 50% of people who have liver cancer have cirrhosis. It is a condition commonly caused by alcohol abuse. Hemochromatosis and Hepatitis B and C can cause liver failure and permanent damage. Liver cancer can also happen because of fatty liver disease and obesity.
Most of the time, there are no symptoms of liver cancer
People with liver cancer may not experience any symptoms. When the symptoms occur, they may include pain on the right side of the belly or back or shoulder, weight loss, fever, weakness, bloating, fatigue, nausea and jaundice.
Doctors often recommend regular liver cancer screenings
The symptoms and signs of liver cancer do not show up until the late stages, so it is difficult to find liver cancer in the early stages. Small tumours in the livers are very difficult to detect on a physical test as the majority of the liver is guarded by the right rib cage. When the tumour gets larger, it can be felt. For people who are at higher risk, screening can be recommended. Liver cancer can be detected by a blood test, biopsy, imaging tests and physical examination.
How is liver cancer treated?
Liver cancer treatment depends on size, location, condition of the tumours, if cancer has spread outside the liver, patient’s overall health and age. Treatments can include cryosurgery (surgery that involves the use of extreme cold to destroy cancerous tissues), liver transplant, removing the tumour from the liver, chemotherapy or radiation, or medications that can also be used for advanced cases of primary liver cancer.
If you think you’re at risk for liver cancer
Take steps to avoid things that can cause other types of liver disease and make sure to do whatever you can to prevent obesity, alcohol consumption and diabetes. If you feel that you are at risk for liver cancer, you can consult the best liver cancer doctor in Kolkata, Dr purnendu Bhowmik.