Liver cancer is a cancer that starts with liver cells. Your liver is a football-sized organ sitting in the upper right part of your abdomen under your diaphragm and over your stomach.
Several types of cancer can be formed in the liver. The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma that begins with the major type of hepatocytes (hepatocytes). Other types of liver cancer such as intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma are less common.
Not all cancers affecting the liver are considered liver cancer. Cancer that starts in another area of the body such as colon, lungs, and milk and spreads to the liver is called hepatocellular carcinoma, not liver cancer. And this type of cancer is named after the organ where it started, such as metastatic colon cancer that describes cancer starting in the colon and spreading to the liver. Cancer that spreads to the liver is more common than cancers that begin with liver cells.
Most people have no signs or symptoms in the early stages of primary liver cancer. When symptoms or signs appear, it includes:
- Reduce weight without trying
- Decreased appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- General weakness and fatigue
- Abdominal swelling
- Your skin and white yellow discoloration of your eyes (jaundice)
- White, white feces
- When to see a doctor
If you experience symptoms or symptoms that you are concerned, please consult your doctor.
The cause of most cases of liver cancer is not clear. However, in some cases the cause is known. For example, chronic infection with certain hepatitis viruses can cause liver cancer.
Liver cancer occurs when hepatocytes undergo a change (mutation) in their own DNA. This is a substance that gives instructions for every chemical process in the body. DNA mutations cause changes in these indications. One result is that cells begin to become uncontrollable and eventually form tumors (lumps of cancer cells).
Factors that increase the risk of primary liver cancer include,
Chronic infection with HBV or HCV.
Chronic infections caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) increase the risk of liver cancer.
Cirrhosis of the liver.
This progressive and irreversible condition leads to the formation of scar tissue in the liver and increases the chances of developing liver cancer.
Specific hereditary liver disease.
Liver diseases that can increase the risk of liver cancer include hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease.
People with this blood sugar disorder have a higher risk of liver cancer than those who do not suffer from diabetes.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Accumulation of fat in the liver increases the risk of liver cancer.
Aflatoxin is a poison produced by fungi grown in poorly stored crops. Crops such as corn and peanuts are contaminated with aflatoxin and may become food made with these products. In the United States, aflatoxin contamination is restricted by safety regulations. Aflatoxin contamination is more common in certain areas of Africa and Asia.
Excessive alcohol consumption.
Ingestion of moderate amounts of alcohol daily for many years can cause irreversible liver damage and increase the risk of liver cancer.