Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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Hepatocellular Carcinoma, known as HCC in short, is a kind of primary liver cancer. It is common in patients suffering from cirrhosis of liver or other chronic liver diseases.

If the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the patient can be cured with treatment through transplant or surgery. However, the medical condition is different from any ‘’secondary’’ malignancy of the liver wherein the cancer spreads from the other organs to your liver.

How it can affect the body?

Those suffering from cirrhosis of liver are likely to be affected by Hepatocellular Carcinoma. The risk factors attributed to the disease include chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, Wilson’s disease, Hemophilia, heavy alcohol consumption, etc.

Source – https://www.knowyourbody.net/

Types

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

This is a common type of primary cancer accounting for 75% of liver cancer patients. Infections associated with Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C result into HCC.

Cholangiocarcinoma

Cancer cells attack the bile duct located in the liver that carries bile to your gallbladder. This type of cancer accounts for 10%-20% of liver cancer patients.

Fibrolamellar HCC

Patients suffering from this type of liver cancer are likely to get well soon, since the disease is typically responsive to treatment.

Secondary Liver Cancer

This type of cancer, also known as Metastasis, develops in other parts of the body, especially in the colon and spreads to the liver.

Angiosarcoma

This type of cancer is usually diagnosed in the advanced stage. It attacks the blood vessels within the liver and grows worse quickly.

Symptoms

  • Weight loss
  • Swelling of belly
  • Ache in the upper right part of your stomach
  • Deep fatigue and weakness
  • Feeling of fullness, loss of appetite
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Chalky bowel movement, darn urine

Causes

Diabetes/obesity

Fatty liver disease is not good for health as it can cause HCC. Besides, diabetic patients are likely to get the disease due to high insulin levels.

Hepatitis B and C

The disease is spread due to sharing of the same needles by drug users. It passes through your blood and results into cancer.

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Aflatoxin

This is a detrimental substance that can cause cancer that are used as coats or moulds over nuts or corn. There are restriction measures taken to the use of Aflatoxin in the U.S.

Iron storage disease

When too much iron gets accumulated in the liver or in the other organs, it can result into HCC.

Cirrhosis

The factors responsible for cirrhosis include Hepatitis B or C, high iron content in the liver, alcohol consumption and certain drugs.

High alcohol intake

The more you drink alcohol, the higher is your risk of getting HCC.

Diagnosis

A though physical examination is done to find out if you have pain in the upper right hand stomach, weight loss, low appetite, weakness to understand the symptoms. Other types of diagnosis include CT scan, blood tests, ultrasound, liver biopsy, etc.

Treatment

The choice of treatments depends upon the condition and stage of HCC. These include:

  • Radiation– Rays are aimed at the affected area on the body to kill cancerous cells.
  • Injection of alcohol– A thin needle is inserted to inject ethanol that helps destroy the cancerous cells.
  • Chemotherapy– A thin and flexible tube is used to attach to the artery by outing the patient under anaesthesia. Then, chemotherapy drugs are inserted in order to cut off blood supply to the liver. As a result, the cancer cells die out of starvation of blood.
  • Surgery– Partial hepatectomy, a type of surgery is done to eliminate the cancerous part of your liver.
  • Liver transplant– It is done when surgery cannot help. The diseased liver or part of the affected liver is replaced with a donor’s healthy liver.
  • Cryoablation– It is done under anaesthesia. The tumour in the liver is destroyed by freezing it by inserting a thin metal probe that delivers a cold gas.

Frequently Asked Question

Q1. What are the risk factors of HCC?

Ans. Hepatits B, Hepatitis C, anabolic steroid, alcohol abuse, etc.

Q2. What are the complications of HCC?

Ans. Erythrocytosis, hypercholesterolemia, hypoglycaemia, watery diarrhoea, etc.

Q3. Can HCC be prevented?

Ans. It can be prevented by preventing liver disease.

Q4. Does HCC lead to other types of cancer

Ans. Liver cancers are often associated with other cancers.

Q5. Does HCC have hereditary or genetic link?

Ans. No, it does not have any genetic link.

Reference:

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/197319-overview

https://www.webmd.com/cancer/hepatocellular-carcinoma#1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatocellular_carcinoma

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hepatocellular-carcinoma/cdc-20354552

https://www.knowyourbody.net/liver.html

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