The largest organ inside the human body is the liver. The functions of the liver includes the generation of digestive enzymes, storage of energy, detoxification of blood, and removal of carcinogenic substances from the body. There are many other functions of the liver that lead to the daily wear and tear of the organ. Of the many diseases of the liver, liver cancer will strike about 22,000 Americans in 2010, according to the National Cancer Institute. Stage 4 liver cancer is the most advanced form of liver cancer.
Types of Liver Cancer
The liver is the largest gland of the human body that can be affected with two types of cancers. The types of liver cancer include primary liver cancer and secondary liver cancer.
Primary Liver Cancer
Primary liver cancer is the type of cancer whose point of origin is the liver itself. The liver cells start growing abnormally, leading to the development of cancer. The survival rates in this case is slightly better than the secondary liver cancer.
Secondary Liver Cancer
Secondary liver cancer is cancer that has spread from another organ to the liver. This means that cancer from organs like the lungs, breasts, colon, stomach or pancreas metastasizes (spreads) to the liver. The survival rate in this case is very poor, as the patient has to battle not one, but two different types of cancers.
Stages of Liver Cancer
There are different liver cancer stages that indicate the survival rate for a patient. These stages also help determine the line of treatment that can help save a life. Liver cancer is divided into the following stages:
- Stage I: This is the early stage of liver cancer where there is only one tumor that has not spread to the nearby blood vessels.
- Stage II: In this stage, the cancer may have spread to the nearby blood vessels or there may be more than one tumor. These tumors are no larger than about 5 centimeters in size.
- Stage III: The stage III liver cancer is sub-divided into three stages, IIIA, IIIB and IIIC. In stage IIIA, there is one tumor which is larger than 5 centimeters and one of the tumors may have spread to a major blood vessel around the liver. In stage IIIB, the tumors may be of any size and may have either spread to the gallbladder or the lining of the peritoneal cavity may have been broken. Stage IIIC is the cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes nearby.
- Stage IV: Stage IV liver cancer is the one that has spread to different organs of the body. The cancer may have spread to the lungs or the bones. The size of the tumor can vary and may have also spread to the blood vessels and/or lymph nodes near the liver.
Stage 4 Liver Cancer
Stage 4 liver cancer survival rates indicates the number of people alive for a certain time period after diagnosis of cancer. People who survive stage 4 liver cancer for a period of 5 years are taken into consideration for compiling the statistics. These people are those who have few or no symptoms of cancer and are undergoing treatment. Stage 4 liver cancer survival rates are very useful in determining the treatment that can be used for curing this disease.
The survival rates for stage 4 liver cancer are found to be very low. Statistics have shown only 7% as the stage 4 liver cancer survival rates for a 5 year period. Those whose cancer is surgically removed show a survival rate of about 75% after 1 year, 50% after 3 years and 30% after 5 years. Metastatic liver cancer life expectancy is 0%, that is, no survivors, even if one undergoes liver transplantation.
The stage 4 liver cancer life expectancy is the lowest as one is fighting a battle with two different cancers. The patient is weak and has no strength to overcome both the cancers. The stage 4 liver cancer survival rates is about 6 months to 1 year, with treatment.
Stage 4 liver cancer treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and liver transplantation. Stage 4 liver cancer survival rates for patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy is zero. This is because these treatments help in prolonging the life of a patient but does not cure the cancer.
Patients who have surgically removed their tumor have a survival rate of 1 out of 4 patients in case of primary cancer. Secondary liver cancer survival rates is about 1 out of 20 patients. Liver transplantation too has poor prognosis. It also increases the risk of infection in the patient undergoing transplantation.
There are not many well documented statistics regarding stage 4 liver cancer survival rates. When one is diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer, it means the cancer has spread throughout the liver as well as some other organs. The chances of survival are bleak as the cancer has no cure.
There are a few stage 4 liver cancer survivors who have beaten the odds and survived the disease. Most of the stage 4 liver cancer survivors are at a risk of a relapse and need to take lifelong treatment to prevent a recurrent cancer. Hope you have been able to understand liver cancer and the survival rates for the stage 4 liver cancer, in the preceding paragraphs.