Liver cancer symptoms and stages are interconnected. Although the disease is initially asymptomatic, it can be severe and more pronounced in advanced stages. Knowing about its signs will help become aware of this condition.
Rated to be the 5th most common cancer in the world and also as one of the deadliest, liver cancer arises from liver. In general, medical experts refer to this term for the two types of this condition, which arise in and around the liver. The two types are:
- Metastatic: It is categorized as secondary, and it doesn’t originate in the liver. Instead, it originates in surrounding organs (stomach, colon, breast, pancreas, lung, etc.), and eventually spreads to the liver.
- Hepatocellular: It is categorized as primary, and arises from the liver cells (hepatocytes) that occupy 80% of the tissues of this organ.
Generally, when medical experts refer to this medical condition, they mean the metastatic type, which spreads in the surrounding organs.
As mentioned before, initially, this condition is asymptomatic. By the time the signs surface, it is already at the advanced level. Some of the common signs are:
- Abdominal Pain (mild to severe)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Appetite loss
- Skin Itching
- Confusion, sleeplessness, and irritability.
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Dark Urine
- Accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity known as Ascites
Stages are decided by certain factors, like tumor size, location (either on one lobe or both), extent to which it has occurred (whether it has developed in and around blood vessels or does it occur adjacent to lymph nodes and other organs). In general, there are four phases.
First: Here, the tumor measures 2 cm or less, occurs at one place (doesn’t spread), and can be surgically removed.
Second: Here, the condition hasn’t yet spread to lymph nodes or blood vessels, but it may be confined to several places on a single lobe. Either one or more than one tumor (2 cm size) may be present on the lobe. It’s possible to remove this tumor surgically.
Third: This is called an advanced stage. It is further divided into parts, viz.,
- Presence of a single tumor or more than one tumor on the lobe measuring 2 cm or more in size affecting adjacent blood vessels.
- The tumors may have any size and lymph nodes are affected. Any other organ is not affected. Blood vessels surrounding this area may or may not be affected.
Fourth: In the most extreme case, the symptoms at this phase are at their worst. It is further divided into two categories.
- The disease has spread in both the lobes, and it may have even affected lymph nodes, organs, peritoneum, and several important blood vessels.
- The disease is spread to the farthest point from the origin. There are no treatment measures, and except to relieve the pain, nothing much can be done, as it spreads to several organs. The survival rate of this disorder is very poor.
Hopefully, this summarized information must have given you an insight about this dangerous disease. This needs immediate medical attention, and hence, it’s necessary to treat it before it reaches the last phase.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.