The Bumpy Road of Liver Cancer

The liver is an organ of your body that is placed in the upper right portion of your abdomen, beneath your diaphragm and above your stomach. It is a known fact that it is prone to cancer when it starts forming in the cells of your liver. The truth is that men are affected more by cancer than women. On World Hepatitis Day, let’s try to learn more about liver.

The liver is an important organ of your body and is known to be about the size of a football (American). It is essential for the digestion of your food as well as getting rid of toxic substances in your body. In order to take care of your liver, you should limit your alcohol intake and keep your weight in check to stay away from obesity. The reason behind this is that these steps can even save you from cancer. 

*According to research published in the World Cancer Research Journal, the standard incidence of liver cancer was 10.1 per 100,000 people (15.3 in males and 5.3 in females). The highest mortality rates occurred in the East Asian countries. The standardised mortality rate for liver cancer was 9.5 per 100,000 people (14.3 in males and 5.1 in females). 

There are two types of this cancer, primary and secondary. Primary liver cancer builds inside your liver. Secondary liver cancer spreads to your liver from another body part. When we talk about primary liver cancer, there are three types:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC): This is the most common form, representing nearly all liver cancer cases.
  • Intrahepatic cancer (IHC): This is a form of cholangiocarcinoma. IHC is cancer in your liver’s bile ducts. It represents about 10% to 20% of all primary liver cancer cases.
  • Angiosarcoma: This type is very rare, representing about 1% of all primary liver cancer cases. This cancer begins in the lining of blood cells in your liver. It may also affect other organs.

Symptoms

Losing weight without trying is one of the symptoms of Liver Cancer.

If you have this cancer, you may not feel any signs or symptoms during the early stages. However later on, some of the symptoms that may appear are:

  • Losing weight without trying.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Upper abdominal pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • General weakness and fatigue.
  • Abdominal swelling.
  • Yellow discoloration of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice).
  • White, chalky stools.

According to Dr Shubham Vatsya, a gastroenterologist at GastroLiver.Care in Delhi, “The most common symptoms of liver cancer in men can be jaundice, loss of weight, loss of appetite as well as pain in the right upper abdomen.”

Risk Factors

Heavy Alcohol Use is a risk factor for Liver Cancer.

Although it is not a common type of cancer, its cases are steadily increasing. There are some certain risk factors that can lead men to get diagnosed with it, such as:

  • Age: It is more common among older men.
  • Heavy Alcohol Use: Binge drinking for many years can increase your risk.
  • Smoking: If you are a smoker you might be diagnosed with cancer.
  • Aflatoxin exposure. Aflatoxin is a toxic substance produced by a type of mould that can grow on peanuts, grains, and corn. In the United States, food-handling laws limit widespread exposure of aflatoxin. Exposure may be higher in other regions.
  • Anabolic steroid use. Long-term use of anabolic steroids, which are a type of artificial testosterone, increases your risk for cancer.

Conclusion

Instead of waiting to get diagnosed with liver cancer, it is important to make a few lifestyle changes to make sure that you are living a healthy life. Cut back on your alcohol intake and quit smoking if you are a smoker. Make sure that you maintain a healthy weight by working out on a regular basis and stay away from liver cancer forever. However, if you are still diagnosed with liver cancer, it is important to get the right treatment by checking with your doctor. Apart from that, instead of being overwhelmed all the time, be connected with your friends and family and join a support group as well to ensure that you are mentally healthy. 

Dr Vatsya says, “You can always prevent liver cancer by not taking alcohol, maintaining normal body weight, exercising regularly, taking low carbohydrate diet and having a monogamous nature.”

Keyword

Stats World Cancer Research Journal: https://www.wcrj.net/article/1082#:~:text=The%20standard%20incidence%20of%20liver,males%20and%205.1%20in%20females

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