What is it?

Cancer is the growth and spread of unhealthy cells in the body.
The liver is the largest internal organ in the body. It plays a key role in
the digestion of food. No one can live without a liver.

Some important functions of the liver

Primary liver cancer

Secondary liver cancer

A type of cancer that starts in the liver.

Also called metastatic liver cancer, starts some- where else in the body and spreads to the liver.

Risk Factors

Knowing what increases a person’s chance of developing cancer and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices. Some actors that increase the risk of primary liver cancer include:

Chronic infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus

Men are more likely than women to  develop liver cancer

People with this blood sugar disorder

An accumulation of fat in the liver

More than a moderate amount of alcohol daily over many years

Liver cirrhosis: a progressive /irreversible condition causes scar tissue in your liver

Symptoms of Liver Cancer

People with liver cancer may experience no symptoms, particularly whenthe tumor is detected early as part of a screening program.
When symptoms or signs do occur, they include:

A hard lump under the ribs on the right side of the body

Jaundice , yellowing of the skin or eyes

Weakness or fatigue

Unexplained weight loss

Bloating or feelings of fullness

Pain at the top right of the abdominal area, near the right shoulder blade, or in the back

Loss of appetite

Liver Cancer Diagnosis

Liver cancer is diagnosed through a physical examination
and special medical tests. Diagnosis may include:


CT Scan

MRI Scan

Sometimes doctors may perform a liver biopsy, a procedure in which a small piece of liver tissue is removed and studied to confirm the diagnosis of liver cancer. Doctors may often do genetic testing of the cancer to help determine the best type of treatment for the patient.

Stages Liver Cancer

For HCC, doctors often use the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer
(BCLC) system to describe the cancer and recommend
treatment options. BCLC stage groupings include:





Very early stage

The tumor is
smaller than 2 cm.
There is no increased pressure in the portal vein. Bilirubin levels are normal. Surgery is
usually recommended.

Early stage

The tumor is smaller
than 5 cm.
Liver function
varies. People with early-
stage disease may be candidates for a liver
transplant, surgery, or
radio frequency ablation

Intermediate stage

The tumor may be large or
there may be multiple tumors. Doctors usually recommend regional therapies.

Advanced stage

The tumor has invaded the portal vein or spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, and bones. Doctors usually recommend targeted therapy.

Liver Cancer Treatment

Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors:

1. How much of the liver is affected by the cancer
2. Whether the cancer has spread
3. The patient’s preferences and overall health
4. The damage to the remaining cancer-free area of the liver

If the cancer has not spread and the rest of the liver
is healthy, treatment options may include:

Liver Transplant
the process of
replacing a sick liver
with a donated,
healthy liver

Partial hepatectomy
surgery to remove a
part of the liver or to
remove a tumor
from the liver

Other treatments include:



inserting a thin probe
through the skin and
into the tumor to heat
and destroy the
cancer cells



A procedures to
block the blood
supply to the tumor,
either with or without
the use of anti cancer

Radiation therapy

A high-energy
x-ray to destroy
cancer cells


Blood Test

Blood tests
that measure
tumor markers


How Can I Prevent Liver Cancer?

Here are ways to reduce your risk of getting liver cancer:

If you risk exposure to hepatitis, ask your doctor about getting immunized

Practice safe sex and avoid IV drug use

Weakness or fatigue

Avoid unnecessary contact with chemicals linked to liver cancer

Do not use anabolic steroids unless medically necessary

Before taking iron supplements, check with a doctor

Coping with liver cancer

A liver cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. It’s important to have a strong support network that can help you deal with any stress or anxiety you may be feeling.

You may want to see a counselor who can help you work through your emotions. Ask your
doctor about support groups in
your area.

Foods to eat

It’s important to eat a balanced diet with
plenty of ber-rich foods to support liver function. For optimal health, your
healthcare provider may encourage you
to eat a wide variety of: fruits and
vegetables, whole grains, such as
whole-wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa,
and oats, lean protein sources, such as skinless chicken, fish, tofu, and beans,
low fat dairy products, such as fat-free
milk, cheese, and yogurt nuts and seeds.

Foods to avoid

For good overall health and liver function,
your provider may encourage you to limit foods that are high in: saturated or trans
fats, such as red meats, full fat milk, and pastries added sugars, such as sweetened beverages, cakes, cookies, and candies
salt, such as sodium-rich canned soups,
cured meats, and potato chips.