The liver helps in breaking down the nutrients and chemicals in your blood, processes blood, and changes these into forms that are easier for the rest of your body to use, and also controls the levels of most chemicals in your blood. The liver is a vital organ in the human body that is accountable for several functions that help support immunity, metabolism, detoxification, digestion, vitamin storage among other functions.
After you are diagnosed with liver cancer, the doctor will discuss your treatment options. It is essential to weigh the benefits of each treatment option against the possible risks and side effects. Oncology is cancer study and an oncologist is a doctor who can treat cancer and offers medical care to a person with cancer. An oncologist is a cancer specialist. Liver cancer is hard to treat as it is detected usually in the advanced stage. The treatment you will get will depend on certain things such as if the cancer began in the liver or spread from other parts, but treatments for primary and secondary liver cancer are the same.
Three major areas of oncology
The field of oncology has three key areas based on treatments:
- Radiation oncology
It uses radiation therapy such as X-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells.
- Surgical oncology
It uses surgery by eliminating the tumor and adjacent tissue during an operation.
- Medical oncology
It uses medication, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
Oncology involves the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and cancer study. Cancer explains the irregular growth of cells that results in tumors.
- Benign tumors do not attack surrounding tissues and do not continue to grow after removal.
- Malignant tumors can spread and invade surrounding tissues, and the cells can break off and travel to other areas of the body, which is known as metastasis.
- Genetic changes can be due to the loss or gain of chromosomes through mitosis or due to changes or mutations in the nucleotide sequence of genomic DNA.
- The cell’s regulation is controlled by genetics, and it takes changes to genes to create anomalous cancerous cells.
Causes of liver cancer
Even though there are no definite causes of liver cancer, but still there are certain conditions that can boost the risk of liver cancer:
- Overweight or obese
- Hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infection
- Eating foods that have aflatoxin like nuts and grains
- Consuming alcohol
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Smoking cigarettes
- Hemochromatosis: where the body takes up and stores more iron than it requires
Liver cancer symptoms
Usually liver cancer might not have symptoms initially. But as the cancer grows, people may see one or more of these common symptoms. It is important to remember that other health conditions could also cause these symptoms.
Common liver cancer symptoms are as follows—
- Uneasiness in the upper abdomen
- Weakness and tiredness
- A bulge under the rib cage on the right side
- Appetite loss and feeling sick
- Yellowing of skin and eyes (Jaundice)
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Unusual tiredness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pale bowel motions
- Sudden weight loss
Liver cancer treatment
Doctors offer several common treatments for liver cancer, including chemotherapy, surgery, using heat to destroy the cancer, radiotherapy, and targeted medicines. The specialist care team will: explain the treatments, advantages and side effects. The team will also work with you to make a treatment plan that is best for you.
Liver cancer is a serious illness. Often, individuals do not know they have liver cancer until it is in an advanced stage, which restricts treatment options. Doctors pay attention to treatments to get rid of symptoms and decrease cancer growth while maintaining a quality of life. In case of an advanced form of liver cancer, consult with your doctor about the treatment options, including benefits and side effects, so that you can feel optimistic about your choices going forward.