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Liver Cancer Treatment

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Liver Cancer Treatment

Liver is situated in the upper right side abdomen inside the rib cage. The liver is the largest solid organ in the body and it has four lobes. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification (i.e. removal of waste products and worn-out cells from the blood), protein synthesis, and production of bio-chemicals essential for digestion.

What is LiverCancer?

Liver Cancer is abnormal growth of cancerous cell in Liver. The liver is made up of different cell types viz. bile ducts, liver cells, blood vessels, and fat-storing cells. The majority of primary liver cancers (over 90%-95%) arises from liver cells and is called Hepatocellular cancer. Liver cancer is the third most common cancer in the world. This disease is more common in parts of Africa and Asia than in North or South America and Europe.

Causes of Liver Cancer

Hepatocellular carcinoma accounts for most liver cancers. Liver cancer occurs more often in men than women. It is usually seen in people from ages 50 – 60.The major cause of liver cancer is usually scarring of the liver (commonly known as cirrhosis). It may be caused by:

Liver Cancer Symptoms

The liver cancer symptoms are often indistinct Following are some indications of Liver cancer. The major symptoms are:

Liver Cancer Diagnosis

Although there are no standard or routine screening tests for liver cancer, the following tests are being used or studied to screen for it

In order to check if the Liver Cancer has spread elsewhere in the body, the following tests are to be done:

Liver Cancer Treatment

The treatment options are dictated by the stage of Liver Cancer and the overall condition of the patient. The treatment to be given depends mainly on the size, number, and site of tumors in the liver. Before planning the appropriate treatment the functioning of the Liver is checked as also the spread of the cancer within and outside the liver is to be tested. The Various treatment options are as follows:
Surgery: Surgical options are limited to individuals whose tumors are less than 5 cm and confined to the liver, with no invasion of the blood vessels. The Surgery to remove part of the liver is called partial hepatectomy. A person with liver cancer may have part of the liver removed if lab tests show that the liver is working well and if there is no evidence that the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.
Liver transplant: A liver transplant is an option if the tumors are small, the disease has not spread outside the liver, and suitable donated liver tissue can be found. When healthy liver tissue from a donor is available, the transplant surgeon removes your entire liver (total hepatectomy) and replaces it with the donated tissue.
Ablation: This is a method to destroy the cancer in the liver. This may be used for people waiting for a liver transplant. Or it may be used for people who can’t have surgery or a liver transplant. Methods of ablation include the following:
Radiofrequency ablation: The doctor uses a special probe that contains tiny electrodes to kill the cancer cells with heat. Ultrasound, CT, or MRI may be used to guide the probe to the tumor. Usually, the doctor can insert the probe directly through your skin, and only local anesthesia is needed. Sometimes, surgery under general anesthesia is needed.
Percutaneous ethanol injection: The doctor uses ultrasound to guide a thin needle into the liver tumor. Alcohol (ethanol) is injected directly into the tumor and kills cancer cells. The procedure may be performed once or twice a week. Usually local anesthesia is used, but if many tumors are present in the liver, general anesthesia may be needed.
Embolization: The doctor inserts a tiny catheter into an artery in the leg and moves the catheter into the hepatic artery. Thereafter tiny sponges or other particles are injected into the catheter which blocks the flow of blood through the artery. Without blood flow from the hepatic artery, the tumor dies. Although the hepatic artery is blocked, healthy liver tissue continues to receive blood from the hepatic portal vein.
Chemoembolization: (Embolization with Chemotherapy): The doctor injects an anticancer drug (chemotherapy) into the artery before injecting the tiny particles that block blood flow. Without blood flow, the drug stays in the liver for longer and the impact is more.
Targeted Therapy: People with liver cancer who can’t have surgery or a liver transplant may receive a drug called targeted therapy. Targeted therapy slows the growth of liver tumors. It also reduces their blood supply. The drug is taken orally.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It may be an option for a few people who can’t have surgery. Sometimes it’s used with other approaches. Radiation therapy may also be used to help relieve pain from liver cancer that has spread to the bones.
Doctors use two types of radiation therapy to treat liver cancer:
A. External radiation therapy: The radiation comes from a large machine. The machine aims beams of radiation at the chest and abdomen.
B.Internal radiation therapy: The radiation comes from tiny radioactive spheres. A doctor uses a catheter to inject the tiny spheres into the hepatic artery. The spheres destroy the blood supply to the liver tumor.

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