Cancer is such a disease, that not only affects the functioning and damages a body organ, but gradually spreads through the body and destroys the overall health. It is an incurable disease and has greatly reduced the lifespan of many people. Liver is the main and largest organ that performs many functions of the body. Being the largest organ, it is divided into four parts: right lobe, left lobe, caudate lobe and quadrate lobe. Portal vein connects the intestine and the liver. It carries out proteins and other nutrients to the liver and the hepatic nerve carries blood and oxygen to the liver.
Liver cancers often develop due to metastatic cancers, which occur in different parts of the body and then spread to the liver. Malignant tumors that occur in and around the liver, can cause great damage to the liver and ultimately become a hindrance in its functioning. Cancer that occurs from within the liver is termed as hypocellularity carcinoma.
As the liver is made of many types of cells and tissues it is prone to developing cancerous tumors. This stage drastically brings down the rate of survival and makes the person weaker. This disease causes severe damage to the body, pain and suffering. Therefore, a cancer patient must seek immediate treatment to reduce the severity of the cancer.
Causes and Symptoms
Infectious viruses present in our environment, have the tendency to develop harmful health problems for us. Hepatitis B is one of the main cause that leads to different liver disease stages. Chronic hepatitis B and C virus, consumption of alcohol, drugs, medications, obesity and diabetes are some of the causes of developing liver cancer. Our way of living greatly influences our health.
Liver diseases, goes through 5 different stages. Cancer progresses faster which is why, many of its symptoms go unnoticed. However, once the disease reaches its last stage, following would be the symptoms:
- Weight Loss
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the right part of the abdomen
- Discomfort and pain in the right shoulder blade
The last stage may involve liver failure and gastrointestinal bleeding (GI). This bleeding starts from gastrointestinal tract and its intensity may vary depending on the severity of the disease. This bleeding could even prove fatal. Gastrointestinal tract extends from mouth to the anus. Gastrointestinal bleeding ranges from acute to massive and give rise to poor medical conditions such as anemia, hypovolemia and even death.
Treatment and its Side Effects
Cancer cannot be completely removed, but can be treated either by liver transplant or surgery. Doctors perform surgery to remove the affected part of the liver to prevent the liver from further damage. In case the cancer is severe, only a few patients get lucky by liver transplant. In this, the entire liver of the patient is replaced by a healthy liver. Such cases are rare to occur, as not many people donate their liver. Another surgery that could kill the cancer is Cryosurgery wherein the cancerous tissues are frozen to prevent them from spreading.
Patients may go through pain after the first few days of the surgery. This pain can be subsided by taking prescribed medications. However, every patient will take his/her time to recover from the surgery.
This therapy includes drugs that kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy is normally performed after the surgery, to get rid of the remaining cancerous cells. The drugs used in this therapy are directly injected into the veins or given through the mouth. In some cases, a pump is placed in the body, which releases drugs into the body.
These drugs target the cancerous cells as well as the healthy cells. Therefore, chemotherapy proves to be an efficient cancer treatment. Damage of healthy cells can cause more infectious diseases, bleeding, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Therefore, patients undergoing such a therapy are likely to consume more medications to treat the cancer as well as cure the symptoms.
Radiation therapy uses x-rays to destroy or shrink the cancerous tumors. A machine or drugs can be used to induce radiation into the body. This therapy could hinder the progression of cancer and slightly increase the life expectancy of end stage liver disease. Radiation might hinder the progression of cancerous cells, but it could cause tiredness, skin irritation, loss of appetite and even decrease the count of white blood cells and reduce the strength of immune system.
This disease is among the common cancers that has taken the lives of many. People with a history substance abuse and alcohol consumption have also ended up suffering from last stage liver cancer. Cancerous diseases are incurable, which is why it is important to take good care of one's health.