Our livers may be a football-sized organ, but the extraordinary role it plays in our digestive system is irreplaceable. Yes, it is a human liver that pretty much controls all of the chemical levels of blood and digestive juices.
As a result, all the blood leaving our digestive systems must pass through the liver to be free of toxins. Now, you can imagine the stress a person undergoing liver cancer treatment carries over.
Liver cancer, if not diagnosed and treated properly, can be a fatal situation. The organ sitting in between our diaphragm and upper right abdomen is too important an organ to lose its battle against a malignity like cancer. So, buckle up, as we will discuss every detail of how to proceed with an early diagnosed liver cancer.
Understanding Liver Cancers First
Our livers are prone to many types of cancers arising due to the deformities in their cells. However, the most commonly occurring cancer type is hepatocellular carcinoma, degenerating the main cells called hepatocytes. Some other rare types are hepatoblastoma or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
Before starting with the liver cancer treatment, it is important to understand the mode in which the degenerated cells replicate. Sometimes, the cancers that began in other abdominal parts like the colon, intestines etc., too, infect our livers. While in other cases, they arise in these cells themselves. So, the first step to assure a hassle-free treatment is to avail the best possible diagnosis.
Early Signs Of Liver Cancer
Even a slight deviation from the normal functioning of your body can point towards your deteriorating liver condition. Mostly, the primary stage cancer doesn’t show severe symptoms. However, when signs given below do appear, you must consult your doctors for a quick checkup:
- Sudden weight loss without trying can be a preliminary marker for a liver anomaly.
- Loss of appetite
- Acute pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
- Extreme weakness and episodic pain followed by fatigue
- Swelling in the abdominal area with bloatedness
- Skin, nails and eyes turning into a tardy yellow colour pointing towards jaundice.
- Chalky or white stool
Liver Cancer Treatment Options
Medical science over the past few decades has found advanced liver cancer treatments for primary stage cancer. Different medical procedures are advised based on the cancer progression and the stage your cancer cells are in. However, the broader spectrum of the treatment is categorised into three phases with their treatment procedures:
- Transplantable or retractable cancer
- Inoperable but static cancer
- Metastatic or advanced cancer
Treating Potentially Retractable Liver Cancer Types
In this stage, the cancer is limited to a smaller portion of our liver and is yet to replicate the malignity all over. Oncologists across the globe suggest invasive treatment for this cancer type owing to the regenerative quality of liver cells.
Yes, if almost all the healthy portions of our livers remain untouched, the operated part can revert to its healthy stage.
Take a look at the treatment options for this type:
Hepatectomy or liver surgery is used to cut off the degenerated or scarred portion of the liver, provided the deformity is quite minute. Some clinical trials also suggest additional chemoembolization to increase life expectancy and speedy recovery.
Liver transplants are the surest way to treat stage 1 and 2 cancers. The patient is put on the waiting list, and a match is sought. Once found, the matching liver replaces the degraded one, thereby giving the survivor a new chance at life.
Treating Inoperable Liver Cancer Types
Sometimes, a person is diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer that is limited to their lymphatic nodes and is in a static position. Invasive surgeries won’t work in such cases, even if it’s a primary stage. These cases include large tumours, inflamed blood vessels or tricky inner linings of our liver.
Thankfully, treatment options like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, ablation, targeted therapy are extremely beneficial in such situations. These procedures are not invasive but capable enough to send a stubborn cancer cell into remission. Once the deformity shrinks or becomes least lethal, the oncologists can proceed further with the invasive surgery.
Treating Metastatic Liver Cancer Types
This cancer type spreads either through some other organs like colons, lungs or breast cancer or by a lymphatic infection. As this cancer type has already affected a significant portion of our body, it cannot be treated with invasive therapy.
The goal here, thus, is to prolong the infection using targeted drugs or immunotherapy. For this, medications like Atezolizumab, Sorafenib, Lenmiva are suggested. In severe cases, radiation is used only to alleviate the pain, not as an effective way of treatment.
Our one right step towards a healthy lifestyle and awareness towards the topic can save the lives of many. Take help from the articles and know everything about the deathly but treatable disease. Lastly, please be open to your doctor and discuss your symptoms to get treated immediately.