What Causes Liver Cancer

Center : Gastrointestinal and Liver Center

Article by : Dr. Sombun Rungjiratananon

What Causes Liver Cancer

When symptoms of liver cancer occur, such as abdominal pain, bloating, tightness, discomfort in the abdomen, no desire to eat, often mistaken for gastritis. The symptoms are obvious only when the disease develops in the middle and late stages, and at this time there is often no possibility of treatment and can be life threatening. Therefore, self-examination is very important and an early visit to a specialist for laboratory diagnostic tests such as blood tests to determine liver function, hepatitis B and hepatitis C tests, or liver fat a cirrhosis that can lead to liver cancer tests with FibroScan. Liver cancer in its early stages can prolong its life if treated effectively, helps improving patients' quality of life.

What is Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a disease caused by abnormal liver cells. This can spread of to the other areas to the liver. Liver cancer patients often show no symptoms until they become severe, which is difficult stage to treat.

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Liver Cancer Types

Liver cancer is the most common type of cancer in Thai men and is usually found at age 30-70 years and is 2-3 times more common in men than in women because men have more risk factors.

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common cancer in the liver, caused by abnormally growing liver cells that turn into malignant tumors.
  • Bile duct liver cancer is a tumor caused by abnormal growth of bile duct cells. The cause is liver fluke disease. It is common in the Northeast, caused by eating certain food that contain carcinogens, such as salt present in fermented foods and smoked foods.

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Liver Cancer Causes

The main cause of liver cancer in Thailand is infection with hepatitis B and C, which can be transmitted in many ways on is by blood. When the virus enters the liver cells, it develops into chronic hepatitis or becomes a contagious carrier to others without symptoms. In addition, there are other factors that can lead to liver cancer, including:

  • Prolonged drinking of alcoholic beverages.
  • Cirrhosis whether from alcohol or hepatitis.
  • Contaminated toxins in peanuts, dried peppers, garlic, various cereals, which come from fungi containing aflatoxins.
  • Malnutrition
  • Low autoimmune conditions
  • Having genetics is risky.
  • Those who have been exposed to various chemicals such as pesticides.
  • Chemical accumulation from certain therapeutic drugs.
  • Chemical accumulation caused by fermented foods

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What Factor Causes Liver Cancer

Factors at greater risk of developing liver cancer include:

  • Gender: Liver cancer rates in males are higher than in females.
  • Patients with other diseases that are associated with or can develop into liver cancer include:
  • Patients with chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C that cause permanent liver damage and liver failure.
  • Patients with cirrhosis. More than half of liver cancer patients have cirrhosis.
  • Patients with diabetes
  • Liver cancer may also be associated with obesity and fatty liver disease that is not caused by binge drinking.
  • Smoking in people who already have hepatitis and smoking habits are at greater risk of developing liver cancer.

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Liver Cancer Symptoms

People with liver cancer can have various symptoms that are usually asymptomatic in the early stages until the cancer lump grows and there is a feeling of tightness in the abdomen, such as indigestion. And when the cancer has more lumps, there is anorexia, weight loss, enlarged abdomen, swollen abdomen and ascites. There are also other symptoms, such as:

  • Jaundice, yellow eyes
  • Abdominal distention, bloating on a regular basis.
  • Lethargy
  • Pain or tingling in the right frame. There is colic, tightness of the stomach.
  • Pain may occur to the right shoulder or under the right shoulder blade.
  • Urine has a dark yellow color. Have swollen legs.
  • Unexplained fever
  • Palpation finds a lump in the liver area.

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Diagnosis of Liver Cancer

Initially, a history and physical examination will be performed, as well as other tests, including:

  1. Laboratory blood tests include:
    • Detect abnormal liver function values including SGPT (ALT), SGOT (AST), ALP (Alkaline phosphatase) values.
    • Autoimmune and hepatitis B and C tests
    • Blood test for liver cancer indications (AFP)
  2. Ultrasound upper abdomen is an examination of the liver, pancreas, whether there are abnormalities or whether abnormal lumps have appeared in any organ.
  3. FibroScan, a new medical technology that assesses the amount of fat in the liver, including fibrosis and cirrhosis levels, without pain.
  4. Computed tomography (CT scan) or sometimes electromagnetic resonance imaging may be used. (MRI) to assist in diagnosis.
  5. Biopsy

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Treatment for Liver Cancer

Treatment for liver cancer depends on the severity of the disease. Size and appearance of cancer cells The stage of the disease and the spread of cancer, as well as the overall health of the patient.

  1. Surgery to remove the lump If it is in the phase, surgery can be performed to remove the lump. Other option can be considered such as liver transplant.
  2. High radio frequency heat treatment (RFA), in which the waves are transmitted through a small needle that pierces through the liver nodule, this works well in liver cancers smaller than 3 cm.
  3. Chemotherapy by injection into the femoral artery that feeds the liver. TACE, which is called TOCE, is used to treat liver cancer in stages where the lump is very large or has multiple lumps 3-5 more.

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Prevent What Cause Liver Cancer

Prevention of the disease is done by administering the hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns. This also applies to adults who have not yet received the vaccine. Avoid eating raw freshwater fish. Change your lifestyle and health habits and eat according to the principles of dieticians. Avoid foods that contain carcinogens, such as foods that may be contaminated with aflatoxins.

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Liver Cancer Conclusion

If there is a suspicion of liver cancer, you should immediately consult a gastrointestinal and liver specialist for diagnosis, especially patients with chronic liver disease or a history of hepatitis. When lesions are found early, treatment can be effective and reduce the mortality rate from liver cancer.

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Why must come to Nakornthon?

Gastrointestinal and Liver Center at Nakornthon Hospital is the specialized medical center which provide the best treatment for intestinal and liver diseases and provides the best services to a patient. We provide a professional team to give you the accurate diagnosis and treatment on the fatty liver and the liver fibrosis along with the operating room for the examination. Fibroscan is the innovative technology that provides complete service from diagnosis to treatment by doctors specializing in gastroenterology and liver with professional nurses and well-trained medical personnel.

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