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Liver Cancer

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by LaRusso L

(Malignant Hepatoma; Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Primary Liver Cancer)

 

Risk Factors

Liver cancer is more common in men, and in people over 40 years old. Other factors that may increase your chance of liver cancer include:
  • Infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus
  • Formation of scar tissue in the liver, also known as cirrhosis
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Exposure to an infectious agent, such as a liver fluke, which is found in southern Pacific countries
  • Abnormal collection of iron in body tissues—hemochromatosis
  • Hereditary metabolic disorders such as alpha-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency and tyrosinemia
  • Exposure to certain chemicals:
    • Aflatoxin—a substance made by a fungus that often infects wheat, peanuts, soybeans, corn, and rice in tropical and subtropical regions
    • Vinyl chloride and thorium dioxide—chemicals that are strictly controlled
    • Anabolic steroids—male hormones sometimes given for medical reasons, but also taken by athletes to increase strength
    • Toxins, such as arsenic
Liver Cancer Due to Cirrhosis
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Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
Imaging tests evaluate the liver and other structures. These may include:
The physical exam combined with all of your test results, will help to determine the stage of cancer you have. Staging is used to guide your treatment plan. Like other cancers, breast cancer is staged from I-IV. Stage I is a very localized cancer, while stage IV indicates a spread to other parts of the body.
 

Treatment

Surgery is the only procedure used to try to cure liver cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can reduce symptoms associated with the cancer. They are not considered able to cure liver cancer by themselves.
 

RESOURCES

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

American Liver Foundation
http://www.liverfoundation.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

BC Cancer Agency
http://www.bccancer.bc.ca

Canadian Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.ca

 

References


Hepatocellular carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 22, 2014. Accessed August 15, 2014.


Liver cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003114-pdf.pdf. Accessed August 15, 2014.


Liver cancer. National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/liver. Accessed August 15, 2014.


Salem, R, Lewandowski, RJ, Mulcahy, MF, et al. Radioembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma using Yttrium-90 microspheres: a comprehensive report of long-term outcomes. Gastroenterology. 2010;138:52.


3/19/2010 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Saunders D, Seidel D, Allison M, Lyratzopoulos G. Systematic review: the association between obesity and hepatocellular carcinoma—epidemiologic evidence. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010;31(10):1051-1063.


3/17/2014 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Luo J, Yang Y, et al. Systematic review with meta-analysis: meat consumption and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014;39(9):913-922.

 

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