Cancer of the Liver

Because the liver filters blood from all parts of the body, cancer cells can lodge in the liver. Cancers that begin in the gastrointestinal tract often spread to the liver.

 

Cause

Carcinogens, certain toxins and chemicals may play a role in the development of cancer in man. Hepatitis B and C viruses are becoming increasingly linked to liver cancer. Cirrhosis of the liver may also lead to liver cancer.

 

Classification

  • Primary Cancer
    i.e. cancer that starts in the liver.
  • Secondary or Metastatic Cancer
    i.e. cancer that has spread to the liver from another part of the body. Death usually follows within a few weeks.

 

Symptoms

  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Fluid in the abdomen
  • Health deterioration

 

Risk Factors Associated with Benign Primary Liver Tumours

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Aflatoxin ingestion
  • Cirrhosis

 

Risk Factors Associated with Malignant Primary Tumours

  • Chronic carriers of Hepatitis B virus
  • Chronic Hepatitis C virus infection
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Aflatoxin ingestion
  • Congenital disorders

 

Can Malignant Tumours Be Treated?

This depends on the stage and speed of tumour growth. Survival rates generally decrease as the tumour size increases. Treatments may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and injection of absolute alcohol into the tumour.

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