Liver Cancer Risks

What Is Important To Know About Liver Cancer

The liver is a football-sized organ located in the upper right portion of a person’s abdomen. When cancer cells develop here, a person will have a form of liver cancer. There are many different types of cancer that can develop in a person’s liver. There is intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma and more.

Liver Cancer Risks

Metastatic Cancer

Not all forms of cancer found in a person’s liver are considered to be liver cancer. It is possible for cancer to develop in another part of a person’s body and then spread to their liver. When this happens, it is known as metastatic cancer. Common areas where such cancer can originate are the breast, colon or lung. With metastatic cancer, the type cancer is described by the organ where it originated. Should cancer begin in the lung, and spread to the liver, it will be referred to as lung cancer. Cancer spreading into a person’s liver is more common than cancer cells developing within an individual’s liver.

Drinking

A person who drinks little or no alcohol has a low risk of developing cancer in their liver. Research has shown that not one type of alcohol is better or worse than another. Not everyone who drinks will develop cancer. When the ethanol in an alcoholic drink is broken down, it turns into a toxic chemical known as acetaldehyde. This substance hinders the ability of a person’s liver to absorb cancer-fighting nutrients. This includes vitamin C, vitamin E, folates, carotenoids and more.

Liver Scarring

Liver scarring happens when healthy cells in a person’s liver are replaced with scar tissue. This scarring is known as cirrhosis. More than 2.5 million people in the United States have liver scarring from hepatitis C. Less than five percent of people with this condition will develop cancer in their liver. This cancer develops in approximately 19 percent of people who have long-term hepatitis C. It can take as long as two or more decades for cancer to develop in a person’s liver when they have this condition.

Genetics

It is possible for people to develop cancer in their liver because of birth defects. It can also be caused by genetic factors involving obesity and more. Genetics can also play a role in making a person more susceptible to certain viruses and other major health issues that lead to cancer developing their liver. A person’s genetics may increase their chances of abusing alcohol, which then increase their chances of developing cancer in the liver and more.

Risk Reduction

There are certain things a person can do to reduce their chances of developing cancer in the liver. It’s important they speak with a physician about prevention of the disease of hepatitis with vaccinations and more. Should a person have any issues with their liver, they need to regularly see a physician who specializes in liver disease. An individual should also take steps to correct their behavior if they are a heavy drinker, overweight, diabetic and more.

Treatment

When a person has cancer of the liver, their treatment will involve different types of physicians working together to develop a successful treatment plan. This is known as a multidisciplinary cancer team. Treatment options will depend on how the liver has been impacted by the cancer. The amount of a person’s liver that is cancer-free, if the cancer is spreading, as well as a patient’s treatment preference, and overall health, will be taken into consideration when determining treatment options.

Options

Treatment options are based on if they will cure the cancer or just improve a person’s chances of surviving it. There are cases where any form of treatment will have a low chance of eliminating the cancer. Treatment goals usually involve managing the cancer’s symptoms and side effects.