Liver Cancer : Treatment and Diagnosis


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Liver cancer is one of the cancer forms that is spreading faster. It is the ninth most prevalent cancer in women and ranks fifth among men. In 2020, there were more than 900,000 new liver cancer cases were recorded.

The most common types of primary liver cancer are cancers of the liver and its bile ducts. Causes, risk factors, symptoms, and therapies are common for both cancer types. Healthcare professionals put a lot of effort to figuring out and treat liver cancer as soon as possible. As there is a wide range of treatment options for cancer, some of them are discussed here:

What is liver cancer?

Liver cancer is a type of cancer that starts from liver cells. The liver can develop a different types of cancers. Hepatocellular carcinoma, which starts in the primary type of liver cell, is the most prevalent type of liver cancer (hepatocyte). Much less often occurring kinds of liver cancer include hepatoblastoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer that spreads in the liver from other organ is much more common than cancer that starts from liver cells.

How is liver cancer diagnosed by medical professionals?

During physical examination, your doctor will look for any of the signs and symptoms of liver cancer. To find out more, they could request the following tests:

  • Blood tests: Healthcare professionals may do blood tests for cancer. It is done in order to check for liver enzymes and other substances that indicate whether your liver is healthy or damaged. They could examine alfa-fetoprotein (AFP). A high AFP level could be a sign of liver cancer.
  • Ultrasound (sonography): With this test, your soft tissue structures can be pictured. Ultrasound is a tool that doctors use to check for liver tumours.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: It produces fine-grained images of your liver that provide details about the size and location of liver tumours.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Using a sizable magnet, radio waves, and a computer, this test creates extremely sharp images of your body.
  • Angiogram: This examination helps medical professionals look at the blood arteries in your liver. In order to check for blockages during this test, your healthcare professional injects dye into an artery.
  • Biopsy: Medical professionals take liver tissue to check for cancerous growths. The most accurate technique to confirm a liver cancer diagnosis is through biopsies.

If your doctor suspects you could have IHC, they might do the following tests:

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): This test looks at your bile ducts using an endoscope and a catheter (thin, flexible tubes).
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC): PTC produces X-rays of your bile ducts. Your healthcare professional administers contrast dye by penetrating your bile ducts and liver with a needle. A PTC is done only for people who cannot take the ERCP test.

Treatments for liver cancer

Your liver cancer medical treatment will be based on the following:

  • If the liver was the initial site of cancer (primary) or if it spread from another location (secondary), but primary and secondary liver cancer therapies are similar.
  • Your liver cancer’s location, size, and type, as well as whether or not it has spread.
  • Your overall wellness

Surgery, chemotherapy, thermal ablation, the use of targeted drugs, and radiotherapy are among the possible treatments.

The specialized medical staff will do the following for you:

  • Describe the procedures, advantages, and side effects.
  • Assist you in managing any side effects, including dietary adjustments to improve digestion.

Throughout and after any treatments, you will have routine check-ups. Speak with your doctors if you experience any symptoms or side effects that worry you.

Surgery

You might be able to have the liver cancer surgically removed if it is caught early, is tiny, and has not spread. Surgery will remove all or a portion of your liver. You will require a liver transplant if it is fully removed to replace your own liver with a donor’s liver. It may take a while to fully recover from liver cancer surgery.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy employs drugs to eradicate cancer cells. The chemotherapy drug is typically injected into cancer’s blood vessels for liver cancer. Cancer’s growth is to be halted. The specific term used for this is chemoembolisation. Chemoembolization is typically performed to lessen cancer’s size or to manage and alleviate your symptoms. This is done if you are too ill to have surgery or if cancer cannot be removed by surgery.

Thermal ablation

Thermal ablation is the process of killing cancer with heat, and it uses microwaves or an electric current to do this. If you are too ill to have surgery or the disease cannot be removed through surgery, you can be treated with thermal ablation.

Targeted medicine treatment

The goal of targeted cancer treatments is to stop cancer from spreading. You can be treated with targeted medications for liver cancer if:

  • You are in such bad health that you cannot undergo surgery, or cancer cannot be removed by surgery
  • Another body part has been affected by the spread of cancer.

Radiotherapy

In radiotherapy, radiation is utilised to destroy cancer cells. Sometimes, liver cancer is treated using a radiotherapy technique called selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT). Here, radioactive beads are infused into the bloodstream of your liver to halt the growth of cancer.

Adults with the following characteristics may have SIRT for liver cancer:

  • There hasn’t been much liver damage
  • No amount of surgery can remove cancer.

Why choose India for liver cancer treatment?

India is today the world’s top destination for medical tourism. Indian medical professionals and researchers are regarded as some of the best worldwide. The medical diagnosis and treatment of diseases have improved a lot because of technological advances. The best liver cancer hospital in India has the highest standards in the world. They can provide you with any service you would need related to any type of cancer. There are approximately 325 NABH accredited/empanelled hospitals in India and about 21 JCI-accredited hospitals.

Bottom Line

Liver cancer is a life-threatening condition. People mostly discover their liver cancer after it is already in an advanced stage, which limits treatment options. When that occurs, medical professionals concentrate on therapies that reduce symptoms and the spread of cancer. It is better to find and treat cancer at early stage.


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