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Adult Liver Cancer

DEFINITION:  

Liver cancer is defined as a disease in which tissues of the liver form malignant (cancer) cells. 

 

RISK FACTORS 

There are several risk factors influencing liver cancer, some of which are: if the individual or a close family member has hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C, or has cirrhosis.  

 

SYMPTOMS:

Although there no symptoms are apparent in the early stages of liver cancer, some of the symptoms that appear later on include swelling of the liver which causes swelling and distress in the upper abdomen directly below the rib cage on the right side; pain near the right shoulder blade; inexplicable weight loss and loss of appetite, jaundice, fatigue, and nausea.

 

DIAGNOSIS: 

There are numerous amounts of diagnosis for Liver Cancer. Some of the diagnosis is listed below. 

Many of the tests contain tests of the liver and blood, such as an entire blood count in which a blood sample is drawn to check for the number of red and white blood cells, and platelets. The blood count also checks the quantity of hemoglobin in the red blood cells as well as checking to see what amount of the sample contains red blood cells.

In addition to the blood count a physical of the entire body can performed. During this procedure, the body is checked for any specific signs such as swelling, bumps, or other physical symptoms that might appear. 

A Serum tumor marker test can also be performed. This is when a sample of blood is tested to assess the amount of particular substances, associated with cancer, which the tissues, tumor cells, or organs might be releasing into the blood. Therefore, these are classified as tumor markers. Furthermore, if the level of AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) is increased in the blood, it may be a sign of liver cancer. Some causes of increased AFP are hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Another test for diagnosing Liver Cancer is a Laparoscopy, which is a surgical process which observes the organs within the abdomen to search for cancer symptoms. Minor incisions are made in the abdomen and a tube called a laparoscope is placed into an incision. 

As well as the laparoscopy, a biopsy can be performed to remove certain cells or tissues to be viewed closely under a microscope to check for signs of cancer. Many times the biopsy takes place during the laparoscopy. 

Another way to diagnose liver cancer is to perform a CT scan also known as a CAT scan. A CT scan is a method that creates a sequence of thorough pictures of areas within the body taken from various viewpoints. Since this procedure is done using a computer, it’s also called computerized tomography, 

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or NMRI (nuclear magnetic resonance imaging) also creates detailed pictures but instead of just a computer, radio waves and a magnet are also used. 

An Ultrasound is a process in which high-energy sound waves bounce off inner tissues and/or organs and create echoes, which create a picture called a sonogram.

STAGES OF ADULT PRIMARY LIVER CANCER: 

Once the diagnosis is performed, staging is the next step. There are several tests that can be performed to determine the stage of the cancer.  Once again, a CT scan and MRI can be used to determine the stage. In addition, a Chest x-ray, a bone scan, and a Doppler ultrasound can be performed to determine the stage of liver cancer. 

There are four stages of the cancer. In stage 1, a tumor exists but hasn’t yet spread. In stage 2, either a tumor has multiplied or has spread to the neighboring blood vessels. Stage 3 is normally divided into three different parts: 3A, 3B, and 3C. Lastly, by stage 4, the cancer has usually been spread severely to other parts of the body.

 

TREATMENT:

The types of treatment for liver cancer are determined on the stages and are grouped according to the way the cancer may be treated. The three basic groups are: Localized Cancer, Localized and Locally Advanced cancer, and Advanced Adult Primary Liver Cancer. There are various types of treatment for patients with adult primary liver cancer. Four main types of treatment are used: Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, and Hyperthermia Therapy. The treatment type used on the patient is determined by the stage of the cancer. For example, for Localized Cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, or biologic therapy can be used; for localized and locally advanced cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a percutaneous ethanol injection can be used.

 

 

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