Working like a factory, the liver is a center that has effects on all systems in the body and is also the body's defense system. In this respect, the liver, which is one of the largest organs in the body, performs many important tasks, from digesting food to storing energy and cleaning toxic substances that may be harmful to the body. However, some problems in the liver may prevent it from performing these tasks and may put the person's health at risk. Liver cancer is one of these problems. Liver cancer, originating from the liver, ranks 5th among all cancer types in the world.
“What is a mass in the liver?” It is one of the most frequently asked questions about the disease. Malignant tumors that grow in the liver's own cell are called primary. The mass in the liver is called carcinoma because it comes out of the liver's own cells, and it is one of the types of tumors that often occur and cause life-threatening risks to the person. However, if the person has a healthy liver, the risk of such a situation is very low. For this reason, individuals with liver disease and structural disorders in their liver are in the risk group. This type of cancer is a life-threatening disease that should be diagnosed at an early stage. After the diagnosis, the necessary treatment is carried out by removing the cancerous tissue. In the treatment, the complete removal of the tissue is performed because the liver is sick and its function is only sufficient for the person, and for the same reason, only the removal of the tumor part is not applied.
“What are the symptoms of liver cancer?” The question is one of the other questions asked frequently. In this type of cancer, which does not show any specific symptoms in the early period, the situation reaches great proportions when the diagnosis is made. Symptoms of liver cancer can be listed as weight loss, fatigue, jaundice, general weakness and fluid accumulation in the abdomen. In addition, although rare, a person may experience pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. Other symptoms include dark urine and white-colored stools. However, all these symptoms differ from person to person and according to the stage of the cancer.
Those who do research on the disease "What causes liver cancer and what are the risk factors?" He also wonders about the answer to his question. These causes and risk factors are as follows:
- Infections caused by the hepatitis B virus
- Wilson's disease
- Infections caused by hepatitis C and hepatitis D viruses
- Genetic metabolic diseases
- Chemicals such as nitrites, hydrocarbons, solvents
- Glycogen storage diseases
- Being overweight
- A weak immune system
Stages of liver cancer are determined after the spread of the cancer is determined. These phases are as follows:
- Stage 1: The malignant structure that occurs in this stage is found only in the liver.
- Stage 2: In this stage, the cancer is in the presence of more than one cancer tissue under 3 centimeters or if it has spread to the blood vessels.
- Stage 3: Refers to a large number of tumor tissues larger than 5 centimeters and spread to surrounding tissues.
- Stage 4: In end-stage liver cancer, it can be mentioned that the disease has spread to other areas such as lymph nodes and bones.
Symptoms of liver cancer are important for the diagnosis. This type of cancer progresses without symptoms in the early period, but as the cancer grows, it causes certain problems. If the above-mentioned symptoms are observed or experienced, it is important for the person to consult a doctor without delay. Some imaging methods are used for diagnosis. These methods are as follows:
- Computed tomography
- Magnetic resonance imaging
In some cases, some imaging methods can be applied together to confirm the diagnosis. In addition to these imaging methods, alpha feto protein (AFP) determination is also performed. A high result of this test in the blood is important for cancer, but this result may be high even in people diagnosed with cancer. In addition, a normal test result does not mean that the person does not have cancer. Therefore, the result should be evaluated in detail from every aspect. In addition, a needle biopsy of the liver is performed for some cases. However, this is a very rarely used diagnostic method and gastroenterology specialists and/or surgeons should decide whether to use this method.
Liver cancer treatment should be carried out without delay. The most effective method of treatment is surgical removal of the tumor. However, the surgical method is performed depending on the stage of the tumor and whether it has spread to distant sites. Surgery is not performed in a cancer that has spread beyond the liver. In addition, the success of the surgical procedure is also related to the diameter of the tumor. For people who cannot undergo surgery, methods such as alcohol injection, chemotherapy, radioembolization, radiofrequency and chemoembolization are applied by the Interventional Radiology Specialist. Even in suitable patients, these methods are performed together with the surgical procedure. However, during the surgical procedure, care should be taken to ensure that the liver remaining after the procedure is of the quality and size that will enable the patient to continue his life in a healthy way. If surgical removal of the tumor in the liver is not appropriate, the treatment is performed by liver transplantation.
People with liver tumors need to make some changes in their diet during and after the treatment. These patients should add to their nutritional routines; fresh vegetables and fruits, grains, calcium-rich milk and dairy products, lean red meat, fish, and other protein sources. In addition, it is important for the patient to reduce daily salt intake. In addition, habits that negatively affect health, such as smoking, should be avoided.
Some measures can be taken to reduce the end-stage symptoms of liver cancer and to prevent this disease. For this reason, getting hepatitis B virus vaccines, treating chronic hepatitis C, treating alcohol addiction, making interventions for the development of cirrhosis, and early detection of hemochromatosis are among the measures that can be taken for prevention.