Cancer Treatment

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the liver. The liver is an intra-abdominal organ located in the right upper abdomen. Masses arising from the liver can range from a simple cyst to complex malignant lesions. More often, a malignant lesion in the liver is a metastasis (cancer that spreads to the liver) than a primary cancer.

Most commonly, metastatic liver lesions spread from primary cancers that arise from the gastrointestinal tract, lung, or breast. There are several types of primary liver cancer. The two most common types are hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma.

Symptoms of Liver Cancer:

Liver cancer may not cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. However, as it progresses it can present with following symptoms:

Unexplained weight loss
Abdominal pain or discomfort
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Swelling in the abdomen
Loss of appetite and nausea
Yellowish urine
Vomiting with or without blood in vomitus

Gastric outlet obstruction

This occurs when the cancerous growth obstructs the passage of food from the stomach into the small intestine. As a result, the food starts accumulating in the stomach, causing distension of the stomach, fullness after meals and vomiting of food particles every few days.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC):

This is the most common type of primary liver cancer, and it usually begins in the main type of liver cells called hepatocytes.


This type of liver cancer starts in the bile ducts within the liver.

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Causes and Risk Factors:

Liver cancer can develop due to various factors, they are listed below:

  • Chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins.
  • Family history of liver cancer.
  • Obesity and diabetes.


Blood tests, imaging such as triple phase CT or MRI, and PET scan. Rarely, biopsy may be required.

Treatment Options

The treatment for liver cancer depends on the stage of the cancer, performance status of the patient, comorbidities, and various other factors.

Common treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor.
  • Liver transplant.
  • Trans-arterial embolization therapies (Chemo / Radioembolization : TACE / TARE).
  • Ablative therapies.
  • Targeted therapy.


While some risk factors for liver cancer cannot be controlled, you can reduce your risk by:
  • Getting vaccinated against hepatitis B.
  • Getting screened and treated for hepatitis C.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
  • Avoiding exposure to toxins.


Liver cancer is a serious condition, but with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, it is possible to manage and, in some cases, even cure the disease.

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