Liver cancer, also known as hepatic cancer, occurs when there are malignant tumors that grow within or upon the liver. The tumors can only be seen by using special imaging equipment and are usually discovered after the individual has gone to the doctor to find treatment for jaundice, abdominal mass, abdominal pain, or some type of liver dysfunction. Most tumors within the liver are typically found unexpectedly because they don’t always present obvious symptoms to those who are experiencing health problems. It is important not to confuse a liver cancer with liver metastases; all liver cancer tumors are developed within the liver whereas metastases come from other organs within the body and then make their way to the liver instead.
There are numerous types of liver cancers that exist, although one of the most common types is considered to be hepatocellular carcinoma. The general symptoms associated with this cancer include anemia, jaundice, weight loss, fever, itching, back pain, emesis, abdominal pain, and abdominal masses. Other types of liver cancer may present the symptoms of sweating, weight loss, abdominal pain, jaundice, and hepatomegaly. It is unknown what causes liver cancer specifically, although hepatitis C is one of the most common causes that doctors diagnose.
Those who are seeking to prevent liver cancer are encouraged to focus on preventing hepatitis. Hepatitis B and C are known for causing living cancer in general. Childhood vaccinations against hepatitis are one way to reduce the chances of getting liver cancer. If this is not an option, individuals are recommended to avoid risky behaviors which may lead to the infection. Those who have a history of drinking alcohol too heavily are recommended to avoid consumption or reduce it completely in order to avoid cirrhosis of the liver.
If someone has liver cancer, the outcome tends to vary. There are some liver cancers which can be “cured’ and recovered from, depending on how treatment is handled. However, there are many liver cancers which still don’t have a proven method for prevention or recovery. Some of the treatments that are commonly used to prevent liver cancer include surgery, radiation, immunotherapy, hyperthermia, and liver transplantation. Ultimately, it depends on the severity of the cancer and how healthy the affected individual is overall. Some treatments can be combined together to ensure that there will be the most beneficial result possible in terms of stopping the tumors or slowing down the progression of the cancer.