Liver Cancer Treatment
Liver Cancer | Overview
Liver cancer (also called “hepatic cancer”) is characterized by a malignant tumor(s) in the liver. The tumor grows as cancer cells spread throughout the body. Obesity, cirrhosis, diabetes and smoking all increase the risk of developing some form of liver cancer. Early detection and treatment of liver cancer is one if the best ways to increase your chances of survival. The early warning signs of liver cancer include:
- Sudden weight loss
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes/skin)
- Upper abdominal pain
- Abnormal bowel movements
A cancer diagnosis is typically gathered via imaging (CT scans and MRIs), blood tests, and biopsies. Once the presence of cancer has been confirmed, a common next step is to determine the stage of development it’s in.
Liver Cancer | Stages of Development
Liver cancer is typically classified as being in one of four stages .
Stage I: Consists of a single isolated tumor in the liver which has not spread to any other part of the body.
Stage II: Characterized by either a single tumor which has grown on to (or into) blood vessels or several smaller tumors which have not grown into any blood vessels.
Stage III: Subdivided into stages 3A, 3B, and 3C. Generally describes the growth and/or multiplication of cancerous tumors throughout the liver and into nearby areas of the body.
Stage IV: Divided between stages 4A and 4B. This stage is the worst possible situation. The cancer has spread widely throughout the body.
Liver Cancer | Treatment
Fortunately for cancer patients, a wide variety of treatments exist which attempt to slow or stop the spread of cancer cells and/or eliminate the disease altogether. One popular treatment option for liver cancer calls for the removal of a portion of the liver containing signs of cancerous growth. The objective here is to eradicate the cancer without having to remove the liver completely. If this option is no longer a possibility, a liver transplant is often required.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatment are two unpleasant yet effective and popular methods of treating liver cancer. These can be crucial tools in treating the cancer but can leave the patients weak, nauseated, and often bald. Along with these treatments, an arsenal of cancer medications exist which work to reduce or kill cancer cells with varying degrees of success.
Some of the lesser-known treatment options available to those battling liver cancer include heating or freezing the affected tissues to kill any cancer cells. Ironically, injecting alcohol into tumors on the liver has also shown to be an effective method of killing cancer cells.
Liver Cancer | Prognosis
While the five-year survival rate for those suffering from liver cancer is around 15%, this is likely due to the large number of other deadly conditions (such as cirrhosis) patients are suffering from when the cancer first appears. However, a strong support network and a positive outlook go a long way in helping those battling liver cancer live longer, healthier lives. Request more information about the diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer today. Call or contact us online.