Liver is a part of our body which takes care of digestion of the food we eat. It is one of the largest organs of the body.
What can cause Liver tumors?
Liver tumors can be of 2 types, benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancer.)
Here are some of the factors which can put you at a risk of developing liver cancer.
- HBV or HCV infection: According to the American Cancer Society, chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus increases your risk of liver cancer.
- Liver Cirrhosis: It is a condition resulting in fibrotic changes in the liver. Hepatitis and chronic alcohol intake lead to liver cirrhosis which may later convert to liver cancer.
- Heredity: If either of your parents had liver cancer, then chances of you getting liver cancer are higher.
- Diabetes. People with this increased blood sugar have a greater risk of liver cancer than those who don’t have diabetes.
- Fatty liver disease. An accumulation of fat in the liver increases the risk of liver cancer.
- Aflatoxins: Crops such as corn and peanuts can become contaminated with aflatoxins, which can end up in foods made of these products. Aflatoxin contamination is more common in developing countries of Africa and Asia.
- Excessive alcohol consumption. Consuming more than a moderate amount of alcohol daily over many years can lead to irreversible liver damage and increase your risk of liver cancer.
Liver tumor symptoms
Liver tumors may lead to symptoms like pain in the upper part of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal swelling. You may also experience loss of appetite and weight general weakness and fatigue. You may show signs of jaundice like yellowish looking skin and the whites of your eyes.
Treatment for liver tumors
After a thorough diagnosis, your doctor will suggest you to go for any one or a combination of treatments. Here are some of the commonly given treatments.
Like any other form of cancer, liver cancer treatment comprises of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The choice of treatment will depend upon the stage and type of liver cancer.
Newer treatment options
- Radiofrequency Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation is one of the newest techniques that destroys liver tumour cells. The cells are destroyed by radiofrequency waves and there is no need for surgically removing the tumour. It is a minimally invasive technique with a success rate of as much as 85%.
This technique is used in patients having small tumours and when surgery cannot be opted. Ablation is best used for tumours lesser than about 3 cm across (a little over an inch). It can be coupled with embolization for slightly larger tumours (3 to 5 cm across). Radiofrequency ablation often destroys some of the normal tissue around tumour and it might not be advised for treating tumours near major structures like blood vessels.
During the procedure, a needle is inserted through the skin into the required area. This is guided by CT scan. With the thermal energy of the radiofrequency waves, the required tumour cells are destroyed. The entire procedure is done under anaesthesia and requires 2-3 hours. The patient can go home the same day. Patients can resume daily activities after 3-5 days of rest.
Blood is supplied to the liver by two arteries i.e., hepatic artery and the portal vein. The tumour cells receive their nourishment from the blood supplied by the hepatic artery. In chemoembolization, chemotherapy is directly injected into the branches of the hepatic arteries that supplies blood to the liver tumor.
First, blood tests will be done to see the blood count and to assess the liver and kidney function. The doctor may advise for diagnostic procedures like biopsy, CT scan and MRI to know the type, size and location of a tumour.
The medicine will be given to the patient through an IV (intravenous) line. The entire procedure will require 1-2 hours. After the procedure, the patient is kept under observation for a few hours. Your doctor may prescribe some medications after the procedure. During the recovery phase, the patient may feel nausea and loss of appetite. Patients can resume the routine in a month’s time.
If you are suffering from liver cancer, all you need is to visit a vascular surgeon in your town.
Dr.Abhilash Sandhyala is one of the best vascular surgeons in Hyderabad. He is renowned for his practice in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and has successfully completed over 1000 vascular surgeries till so far.
If you are looking for newest and minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer, you can visit Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala ’s website for an appointment or call on (+91) 99896 49498, 99590 33037.