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Liver Cancer – Its Risks & Symptoms

Liver Cancer – Its Risks & Symptoms

Dr. Bipin Vibhute in Pune
Dr. Bipin Vibhute

Gastroenterology-Hepatologist, Pune

31, Jul 2021
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What is Liver Cancer?
 Liver cancer is also called Hepatocellular carcinoma. Primary liver cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the liver’s tissues. The liver is one of the largest organs in the human body, and it is covered by the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen. The liver performs three critical functions: It filters the blood and eliminates waste and pollutants. It produces bile, which aids in digestion. Glycogen, a kind of sugar, is used to store energy.
 Secondary liver cancer starts elsewhere in the body and progresses to the liver. Malignancy of the liver is the most prevalent secondary cancer, and it most commonly spreads from colon, lung, and breast tumors. When this happens, it isn’t a case of liver cancer. 
Primary liver cancer is rarely detected early, and it frequently fails to react to current treatments, leaving patients with a poor prognosis. Treatments for liver cancer can alleviate pain and other symptoms while also improving the quality of life. The following details pertain to primary liver cancer. Protection from hepatitis and cirrhosis, which are the principal causes of primary liver cancer, can considerably lower the risk of acquiring the illness. 
What are the risk factors of liver cancer? 
Following are the risk factors of liver cancer: 
Viral Hepatitis – 
 • Viral hepatitis is one of the largest risk factors for this type of cancer. 
 • Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C face an increased risk of developing adult primary liver cancer. 
 Cirrhosis –
 • Cirrhosis is a disease in which liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue. People with cirrhosis have an increased risk of liver cancer. 
 • There are several possible causes of cirrhosis, like abuse of alcohol or have chronic hepatitis B or C infections. 

 Age and Gender
 • Liver cancer is much more common in males than in females.

 Inherited Metabolic Diseases 
• Certain inherited metabolic diseases can lead to cirrhosis. People with hemochromatosis absorb too much iron from their food. They are more likely to develop cirrhosis because of the high levels of iron in their liver. 
 • Other rare diseases that increase the risk of liver cancer include tyrosinemia, alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, porphyria cutanea tarda, glycogen storage diseases, and Wilson disease.

 Diabetes and Obesity – 
 • Diabetes can also increase the risk of liver cancer, usually in patients who have other risk factors such as heavy alcohol consumption or chronic viral hepatitis. 
 • Obesity may increase the risk of developing liver cancer, probably because it can result in fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. 

 Arsenic–
 • Chronic exposure to drinking water contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic, such as that from some wells, increases the risk of some types of liver cancer. What are the symptoms of liver cancer? 
• A hard lump or swelling found on the right side of the abdomen, just below the ribs 
• Pain or discomfort on the upper side of the abdomen or by the right side of the shoulder blade 
• Jaundice, or the yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes or dark-coloured urine
 • Nausea, loss of appetite, or feeling full shortly after you begin to eat 
• Unexplained weight loss 
• Fatigue 
• Swollen abdomen, bleeding (the symptoms of cirrhosis)  
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