Liver Cancer, Symptoms, causes and treatment
Understanding Liver Cancer
Liver cancer is cancer that begins in the liver and can spread to other organs. Liver cancer occurs when cells in the liver mutate, then divide uncontrollably and form tumors .
The liver has many important functions for the body. Some of them are cleaning the blood of toxins and harmful substances, such as alcohol, helping the process of digestion of food, and controlling blood clotting.
Liver cancer is one of the five types of cancer that causes the most deaths. Based on research by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020, liver cancer is responsible for more than 800,000 cancer deaths worldwide.
Types of Liver Cancer
Liver cancer is divided into primary liver cancer and secondary liver cancer. Here is the explanation:
Primary liver cancer
Primary liver cancer is cancer that begins in the liver. There are several types of primary liver cancer, namely:
- Hepatocellular carcinoma Hepatocellular carcinoma is liver cancer that begins in the main cells that make up liver tissue (hepatocyte cells). Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of primary liver cancer, accounting for 75% of all cases of liver cancer.
- Liver angiosarcoma Liver angiosarcoma is liver cancer that begins in the cells of the blood vessels in the liver. Angiosarcoma tends to develop rapidly and is often only detected at an advanced stage.
- Cholangiocarcinoma Cholangiocarcinoma is liver cancer that grows in the cells of the bile ducts. Cholangiocarcinoma can begin in the bile ducts that are inside the liver ( intrahepatic ) or in the bile ducts outside the liver ( extrahepatic ).
Hepatoblastoma is a liver cancer that starts from immature liver cells. This cancer is very rare and usually only occurs in children under 3 years of age.
Secondary liver cancer
Secondary liver cancer is cancer that grows in other organs and then spreads to the liver. Cancers from other organs that most often spread to the liver are stomach cancer, colon cancer , lung cancer , and breast cancer.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Liver cancer is more common in people who have long-term (chronic) hepatitis B or hepatitis C. In addition, people who frequently consume alcoholic beverages in excess are also more at risk of developing liver cancer.
Therefore, the risk of developing liver cancer can be reduced by taking precautions against hepatitis B, for example by vaccinating against hepatitis B and practicing safe sex. Another way is to avoid or limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Liver Cancer Symptoms and Complications
The most common symptoms experienced by patients with liver cancer are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and drastic weight loss. Patients can also experience complaints of jaundice and swollen stomach.
If you experience these symptoms, immediately consult a doctor so that the complaint can be examined. Early detection and treatment will reduce the risk of complications in the form of further liver damage and failure.