The liver is a vital body organ located in the upper right part of our abdomen, just below the diaphragm and above the stomach. The cancers beginning from the liver cells are referred to as liver cancer or hepatic cancer. The liver is made up of different types of cell. These liver cells make up 80% of the liver tissue. Therefore, the majority of primary liver cancers arise from liver cells and are thus called hepatocellular cancer or carcinoma. The liver being a vital organ is also the site for cancers that have spread from other organs such as the colon, stomach, pancreas, breast and lung. This type of liver cancer is called metastatic liver cancer or secondary liver cancer.
Types of Liver Cancer:
1. Primary Liver cancer: It is the common type of adult liver cancer and it gradually develops to other parts of the body. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of malignant tumors.
2. Metastasized Liver cancer: It is the metastatic form of cancer that develops in other parts of the body and travels to liver due to its important function of the filtering of the blood. Cancers from colon, pancreas, stomach, lung, and breast have the risk of spreading to liver
Signs and Symptoms of Liver Cancer
Patients might experience the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal swelling
- Vomiting and nausea
- Enlarged liver
- Fatigue and weakness
Liver Cancer Prognosis/Life Expectancy
This Liver disease remains undetected for a long time and hence causes the life expectancy to become low. More than half of the patients diagnosed with liver cancer are men and the average age of liver cancer diagnosis is 60 years.
- People who are diagnosed when they are in the advanced stages of liver cancer are generally given 3 to 4 months to live.
- For those who undergo treatment, the average life expectancy is 6 to 18 months.
- When liver cancer is removed surgically, the liver cancer survival rate in such cases is about 75% after 1 year of surgery and 50% after 3 years of surgery. About 30 percent of those who are diagnosed in the early stage and undergo surgery to remove the cancer are able to survive up to 5 years.
Listed below are some clinical trials investigating new treatments for Liver Cancer.