Tags: liver cancer | treatment | hepatic | chemotherapy

Liver Cancer: Treatment and Prognosis

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 12:13 AM

The liver is a vital organ in the human body. The blood is filtered and many toxins are separated when it flows through the liver. The liver also secretes important substances for the body. Liver cancer is of two types, primary and secondary. In primary liver cancer, cancer cells arise from the hepatic tissue (the liver itself). In secondary liver cancer, the cancer cells are present in extra hepatic tissue (somewhere else) and spread to the liver (metastasis). Therefore, metastatic cancer always has an extra hepatic cause. Liver cancer can also be classified as hepato cellular cancer and cholangio carcinoma.
 
Liver cancer has many risk factors. Obese men are at greater risk of developing liver cancer. People with diabetes and with other metabolic diseases and those who consume anabolic steroids are at a higher risk of developing liver cancer. Some hepatic disorders are due to alcohol abuse, and infections like hepatitis and hemochromatosis can cause liver cancer. Use of herbicides and hormones in the diet has raised the incidence. 
 
Treatment

There are two options available for liver cancer treatment: chemotherapy and surgery. For primary cancer of the liver, the main treatment is surgery. This surgical treatment can be through a resection or a transplant. Another treatment option is called radiofrequency ablation, in which radio waves heat the cancer cells. People unfit for surgical treatment can consider radiotherapy, alcohol injection, or chemotherapy. Alcohol injection treatment is painful and fever may follow this treatment. Chemotherapy means using some drugs that can destroy the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy drugs either can be taken as pills or in the form of injections or a chemoembolisation of the hepatic artery is done (also known as hepatic embolization). In hepatic embolization, the chemotherapy drugs are used to block the hepatic artery. In this treatment, the chemotherapy drug is targeted at the cancer cells. The blocked hepatic artery supplying the blood to tumors of cancer cells kills them. Systemic chemotherapy drugs enter the bloodstream and go to all organs affected by the cancer. Fluorouracil and cisplatin are most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for cancer affecting hepatic cells. Hepatic artery infusion technique delivers the chemotherapeutic drug through the hepatic artery. This technique reduces the side effects linked with systemic chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs are linked with many side effects like hair loss, mouth ulcers, vomiting, and bleeding.

Prognosis

Treatment may differ based upon the stage and type of liver cancer; on the area of the liver involved; and the patient’s overall health considerations. The five-year survival rate calculated for localized liver cancer is 28 percent, for regional cancer it is 7 percent, and for distant cancer it is only 2 percent.

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Primary liver cancer is a deadly disease, with most other cancers being less worrisome. Many treatment options are available like surgery, radio frequency ablation, and chemotherapy.
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2014-13-14
Friday, 14 Mar 2014 12:13 AM
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