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Liver cancer is known to be one of the most life threatening diseases and one of the most fastest growing cancers in the United States. There are two types of liver cancer; primary as well as secondary. Primary liver cancer grows inside the liver and secondary liver cancer spreads to your liver from another part of your body. However, there are certain treatments for liver cancer that can be used to treat it. Let’s learn about these treatments below.
The liver of a man’s body is of utmost importance and is your largest internal organ. It is known to be about the size of an American football and helps in the digestion process as well as getting rid of the toxic substances in your body. However, it is prone to many liver problems if not taken care of, such as liver cancer. Liver cancer can either grow inside your liver or spread from other parts of your body to your liver. But there are treatments for liver cancer once it has been diagnosed in a man.
Read on about the different treatments at different stages of liver cancer below.
Diagnosis of Liver Cancer
There are certain tests as well as procedures that have to be performed in order to diagnose liver cancer in a man, such as:
- Blood tests: Blood tests may reveal liver function abnormalities.
- Imaging tests: Your doctor may recommend imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, CT scan as well as an MRI test.
- Removing a sample of liver tissue for testing: Sometimes it is necessary to remove a piece of liver tissue for laboratory testing in order to make a definitive diagnosis of liver cancer.
Potentially Resectable or Transplantable Liver Cancer
If your liver cancer is at an early stage and the rest of your liver is healthy then surgery or partial hepatectomy might cure you. Only a small number of men fall into this category. Important factors that may influence the outcome are the size of the tumour(s) and if nearby blood vessels have been affected. Larger tumours or those that infect blood vessels may come back in the liver or spread elsewhere after the surgery. The working of your liver as well as your general health is also important.
A liver transplant can also be an option for some men, especially if your liver is not healthy. A transplant may also be an option if the tumour is in a part of the liver that makes it hard to remove. However, men waiting for a liver transplant have to wait for a long time for a liver to be available. While they are waiting, other treatments, such as ablation and embolisation are used to keep the cancer under control.
Unresectable Liver Cancer
Unresectable liver cancer is a type of liver cancer which has not spread to the other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes, however cannot be operated as well because:
- The tumour is too large to be removed safely.
- The tumour is in a part of the liver that makes it hard to remove.
- There are several tumours or the cancer has spread throughout the liver.
- The person isn’t healthy enough for liver surgery.
In such cases, treatments for liver cancer that can be used are ablation as well as embolisation. Apart from that, the other treatments that can be used are targeted therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy as well as radiation therapy. However, these treatments are unlikely to cure liver cancer. They can only reduce the symptoms and help a man live longer.
Advanced Liver Cancer
Advanced liver cancer is the stage of liver cancer in which the cancer of the liver has spread to the lymph nodes or to other organs. In such cases, surgery is not an option for a man. The treatments that a man can go for are:
- The immunotherapy drug atezolizumab (Tecentriq) plus the targeted drug bevacizumab (Avastin).
- Either of the targeted drugs: sorafenib (Nexavar) or lenvatinib (Lenvima).
Treatments for liver cancer do not always work as well as can be painful. As a man, you should always make sure that you get screened for cancer to get it detected at an early stage, as treating it early would be better. However, prevention is better than cure. In order to stay away from liver cancer, maintain a healthy weight as well as limit your alcohol intake.