Liver is like a football -sized organ found on the upper right side of the abdomen, just under the ribs. Liver is the largest internal organ in the body. Liver is made up of mostly cells. These cells are called hepatocytes. This organ is also made up of other cells which includes cells that lines its blood vessels and cells that line small tubes in the liver called bile ducts. Bile ducts carries fluid called bile from the liver and gall bladder to the small intestine.
- Liver is responsible in breaking down and storing absorbed nutrients from the intestine. Before we can use nutrients for energy and building and repairing body tissues, our liver metabolized these nutrients.
- Liver also makes most of the clotting that keep us from bleeding too much.
- Liver secretes bile into the intestine to help our intestine in digestion.
- Liver process alcohol, drugs, and toxic wastes in the blood, these toxics became urine and tools.
Like any other cancer, liver cancer starts in forming abnormal cells become a tumor, spread to nearby tissues then start to be malignant. Studies show that several people who get liver cancer have a background or have had a chronic liver disease. The several cells in the liver can form different types of benign and malignant (cancerous) tumors. When these cells become malignant or cancerous, these tumors are treated differently and prognosis will vary.
BENIGN LIVER TUMOR
This type of tumor can grow enormous and cause a lot of problems, yet they don’t grow to nearby tissue and spread to other part far away from the liver.
Hemangioma begins in the blood vessel. This is the most common type of benign tumor but typically doesn’t cause symptoms and doesn’t require treatment. Liver hemangiomas are usually found during a test of a different condition.
This type of benign tumor is uncommon and it starts from hepatocytes (main liver cells). Hepatic adenoma happen to women in childbearing age and strongly linked with the used of oral contraceptives. Experts usually advise surgery to remove the tumor if possible because there is a risk that the tumor will rapture.
FOCAL NODULAR HYPERPLASIA
This is the second most common benign liver tumor. FNH is made up of some cells types such as hepatocytes, bile duct cells, and connective tissue cells. Doctors usually advise to remove it because FNH can also be mistaken as the primary liver cancer.
Types of Primary Liver Cancer
Hepatocellular carcinoma (hepatocellular cancer)
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common liver cancer for adults. This is often diagnosed to people who have chronic liver diseases, like cirrhosis cause by Hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection.
Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer)
This type of liver cancer is uncommon in which the malignant cells from in the bile ducts.
Angiosarcoma and Hemangiosarcoma
Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma start on the cells lining the blood vessels of the liver. Being exposed to vinyl chloride or to thorium dioxide may cause these types of liver cancer. These tumors are characterized by rapidly proliferating. These types of liver cancer are hard to treat.
This is a very rare type of primary liver cancer. This tumor usually develops in children from infancy to about 3 years of age. Ratios of 2 out of 3 children are treated successfully with this tumor.
SYMPTOMS OF Liver cancer
Similar to other types of cancer, liver cancer’s signs and symptoms will be visible on the latter stage of the cancer. These symptoms include:
- Losing weight without doing anything
- Loss of appetite
- Upper abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Abdominal swelling
- Yellow eyes and skin (jaundice)
- White, chalky stool
These symptoms may also cause by an infection, so it is really important to undergo tests or several examination if possible.
There are cancers that begin from another organ of the body and has had spread to liver. These cancers are metastasis cancer which have spread to liver and not a liver cancer.
Liver Cancers Risk Factors
- Chronic Infection –Hepatitis B and or hepatitis C virus increases the risk of liver cancer.
- Cirrhosis –is a disease that causes a great damage to liver, when liver become irreparable this may increase the risk of liver cancer.
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – This disease is common to overweight with no alcohol consumption but develops fatty liver. Non-alcohol fatty liver can also progress to cirrhosis
- Diabetes – A person with type 2 diabetes has a higher risk of getting liver cancer than someone who has normal blood sugar.
- Heavy Drinker (Excessive alcohol consumption) – heavy drinker that drink alcohol more than a moderate amount may destroy the liver beyond repair; this would increase the risk of getting liver cancer.
- Inherited Liver Disease – Health conditions like hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease can increase the risk of liver cancer.
- Obesity – fatty liver disease are common to overweight people and this may result to liver cancer.
- Exposure to Alflatoxins –Aflatoxins are made by fungus grow in corn, rice, soybeans and peanuts that are stored in moist and warm environment. This poisonous fungus is more common in certain part of Asia and Africa.
Our liver is very important part of the body and we cannot live without it. Healthy lifestyle and healthy diet would lessen the possibility of developing this disease.
“Prevention is better than cure.”