Symptoms of liver cancer include fatigue, jaundice (yellowing of the skin& Urine), pain, easy bruising or bleeding, lack of appetite, and weight loss.
Those who are diagnosed to have liver cirrhosis are prone to have liver cancer. Alcoholism, viral hepatitis B and C, diabetes, and obesity are all risk factors for developing cancer.
Prevention is very important when it comes to a disease like liver cancer. The underlying cause of liver cancer is often liver inflammation and the development of a condition called cirrhosis. In addition to avoidance of drugs and alcohol, infection (such as hepatitis B or C) and obesity can contribute to the development of liver cancer. Steps to minimize these risks include vaccination against hepatitis B for those at risk, prompt treatment for patients infected with hepatitis C, and maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
Patients who have a very specific type of fatty liver disease (progressing to either non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), or cirrhosis) are at an increased risk for developing a cancer in the future. However, that does not mean that it will automatically develop into cancer. The diseases are not considered malignant (cancer).
Patients diagnosed at an earlier stage have better outcomes. There are many strategies that are used to detect liver cancer, including frequent imaging studies (ultrasound, computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imagining) and routine physical exams with blood testing. Those who have developed cirrhosis of liver should remain vigilant and screen with a variety of imaging methods to try to catch this disease as early as possible.
In general, the basic approach of any cancer therapy can also apply to liver cancer. These are:
The term ‘herbal medicine’ can represent thousands of compounds. Unfortunately, most are not rigorously tested or regulated by the companies that produce them. Some are likely very safe but some may be harmful. Patients taking these types of medications should discuss with their physicians when it comes to any drug they may be consuming.
There is often nothing to worry about with simple cysts in the liver. They can be quite common. When we find cysts that are growing, we will often take extra care to ensure that there is not an associated tumor causing the growth. This is often arrived at by doing various types of scans and at times liver biopsy.
In some cases, yes, a parent with liver cancer can raise your personal risk. However, this is not true for the majority of patients. It’s always good to talk to your liver doctor (Hepatologist) about your concerns or questions regarding genetic inheritance of a particular cause of liver disease which puts you under increased risk of liver cancer.