Existing hepatitis infections, having a family history of liver cancer, and excessive alcohol are a few of the many causes and risk factors of liver cancer. Read on to know more…
Liver cancer, if primary, starts in the liver itself. Metastatic liver cancer starts in some other body part and then spreads to the liver. Despite many researches, the exact liver cancer causes are still unknown. Although, like other cancers, it develops when there are mutations in the DNA of the liver cells, causing the cells to grow out of control, thus forming a tumor in the process. But what causes these changes in the DNA is still a medical mystery. There are, however, certain risk factors which increase the chances of a person to get this cancer. Below is a list of all these risk factors.
Long term alcohol abuse can lead to liver cirrhosis, a condition which leads to scarring of the liver. The scar tissues soon replace the healthy tissues, thus hampering the functioning of liver. In this condition, the liver is not able to perform its functions and this may eventually lead to cancer development.
Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
People who have hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections face a greater risk of developing liver cancer. Past researches have shown that particular genome of hepatitis B virus gets introduced in the liver cell’s genetic material, thus making them cancerous. Studies have also shown that hepatitis C virus leads to liver cirrhosis and thus may cause cancer too.
According to past studies, minority races in America such as Pacific Islanders and Asians are much more likely to get liver cancer than the majority white population. A lot of it might be due to the spread of the hepatitis infection in the regions they belong to.
Men get this cancer more than women. Although some say that it is because men are more into alcohol and smoking, but nothing has been proved as such.
Exposure to Aflatoxin
Aflatoxin is the poison which is found on the fungus that grows on foods like nuts, grains, etc. If a person regularly eats foods that have such fungus growths on them, he can develop cancer.
In this genetic disorder, the body absorbs and stores much more iron than required. People who suffer from this condition thus, store excess iron in the tissues of the body including the liver tissues. This may lead to liver failure, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Due to this disease, the bile ducts become inflamed and may even get damaged. This may lead to a number of health conditions and diseases such as liver failure, vitamin deficiency, bile duct infection and liver cancer.
These male hormones are taken by athletes and body builders to build muscles and to increase their strength. Long-term usage of these can increase the risk of liver cancer.
In certain parts of America the drinking water contains arsenic. Regularly drinking such water increases the risk of a person to develop cancer.
Studies have shown that people who have diabetes are two to three times at a higher risk to develop liver cancer.
Researches have shown that people who have a close relative such as father, brother, mother or sister with liver cancer are four times at a higher risk to get it themselves. If the father or the brother have prostate cancer, the risk is even more.
In the initial stages, there may not be any visible signs of liver cancer. However, in the later stages, the below given signs and symptoms appear.
- Pain in the upper abdominal region
- Feeling of nausea and vomiting
- Tiredness and general fatigue.
- Weakness in the body
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Swelling in the abdominal region
- The color of the skin and the white part of the eye turns yellow.
Researchers have still not been able to identify the real cause behind liver cancer. Even the symptoms may not exactly appear until the cancer is in an advanced stage. This makes the treatment very difficult. The treatment entails either or all of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.