The liver is one of the most important organs in our body, and it’s located just above your abdomen, on the right side. In India, liver cancer is becoming one of the most rapidly spreading cancers.
In India, there are approximately 3-5 cases of liver cancer per 100,000 people, resulting in 30,000 to 50,000 new cases per year. However, if caught early enough, liver cancer can be successfully treated.
Here’s some information about liver cancer that you might find surprising.
1. A biopsy is not always necessary to diagnose liver cancer
Despite the fact that tumour biopsies are the gold standard for many types of cancer, hepatologists (liver specialists) rarely use them to confirm a liver cancer diagnosis. In about 10% of cases, biopsies are performed, but most doctors make their diagnoses based on what they see during imaging exams.
A liver biopsy has risks, such as causing the tumour to release more cancer cells or missing the tumour entirely if it’s difficult to reach. If the doctor misses the tumour during the biopsy, the patient may receive a false negative test, which means the test revealed no cancer.
In certain cases, if surgery is the treatment option, the oncologist sends a sample of the tumour to a pathologist for a detailed report on the cancer type and cancer cells.
2. Liver cancer is a Slow-growing Cancer
It’s common for people to think of liver cancer as a rapidly growing cancer. This could be due to the fact that it is often diagnosed late, making it appear as if the person has lost a lot of time until it is finally diagnosed.
But, researches show that tumours in the liver double in size every 90 days. A 1-centimetre (less than half an inch) liver cancer tumour will grow to 2 centimetres (less than half an inch) in 90 days, and so on without treatment.
3. Liver Cancer Is Closely Associated With Cirrhosis
Let us first understand what liver cirrhosis means. Cirrhosis is the stage where there is scarring of the liver tissue (fibrosis). Cirrhosis of the liver is linked to a higher risk of developing primary liver cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the majority of people with liver cancer, whether previously diagnosed or not, already have cirrhosis. Most people associate liver cirrhosis with excessive alcohol consumption, but cirrhosis can be caused by a variety of factors.
Excessive alcohol consumption, as well as viruses such as hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, infections, medications, obesity, and others, can cause it.
4. Liver cancer symptoms appear after the tumour is progressed
Liver cancer is often diagnosed unintentionally when the doctor suggests imaging tests for other reasons. However, liver cancer is usually discovered after symptoms appear and the cancer has progressed quite far.
Unintentional weight loss, fatigue, feeling full even after small meals, abdominal or stomach pain, swollen abdomen, and jaundice (yellow colour to the skin and whites of the eyes) are all symptoms of liver cancer.
Keeping a close watch on these symptoms and visiting a doctor when you feel any of these symptoms will help to rule out liver cancer or help in early detection and treatment.
5. Early-stage Liver can be Treated with Liver Transplant
If the patient is strong enough and eligible, liver transplantation is one of the best liver cancer treatments in India. For a transplant to work, cancer must still be in its early stages.
Surgery to remove the tumour; radiofrequency ablation, which heats and destroys cancer cells; cryoablation, which freezes and destroys cancer cells; chemotherapy injected directly into the tumour; radiation beads surgically implanted in the liver; radiation therapy; targeted therapy; and immunotherapy are some of the other treatments.
For more information and queries related to liver cancer treatment, liver cancer treatment cost, to book appointments and connect with the best liver cancer oncologists, visit our website www.cancerrounds.com.