(Malignant Hepatoma; Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Primary Liver Cancer)
- Sex: male
- Age: 40 and older
- Infection with the hepatitis B virus or the hepatitis C virus
- Formation of scar tissue in the liver, also known as cirrhosis
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Exposure to an infectious agent, such as a liver fluke, which are found in southern Pacific countries
- Hemochromatosis—abnormal collection of iron in body tissues
- Hereditary metabolic disorders such as alpha-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency and tyrosinemia
Exposure to certain chemicals:
- Aflatoxin—a substance made by a fungus that often infects wheat, peanuts, soybeans, corn, and rice in tropical and subtropical regions
- Vinyl chloride and thorium dioxide—chemicals that are strictly controlled
- Anabolic steroids—male hormones sometimes given for medical reasons, but also taken by athletes to increase strength
- Arsenic—a toxic chemical
|Liver Cancer Due to Cirrhosis|
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- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Dark urine
- Excessive itchiness of the skin
- Confusion and increased sleepiness
- Yellowing of the skin and/or the whites of the eye
- Blood tests
- Surgery—removal of the cancerous tumor and nearby tissue, and possibly nearby lymph nodes
- Cryosurgery—destroys tumors by freezing them with a metal probe
- Ethanol ablation—kills cancer cells by injecting alcohol directly into the tumor
Radiation therapy—the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may be:
- External radiation therapy—Radiation is directed at the liver from a source outside the body.
- Internal radiation therapy—Radiation is placed as close as possible to the cancer cells. Radiation seeds or compounds are delivered directly to the tumor through a special catheter that is placed in the hepatic artery, which delivers blood to the liver.
- Radiofrequency ablation—This involves using heat to destroy the tumor. Imaging machines are used to guide the probe to the tumor site.
- Chemotherapy—drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body to kill mostly cancer cells and some healthy cells; may be given by pill, injection, and via a catheter directly into the liver
- Sorafenib—a new class of therapies targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGF); used for advanced liver cancer
- Biological therapy—the use of medications or substances made by the body to increase or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer; also called biological response modifier (BRM) therapy
- If you use needles to inject medication or drugs, always use a clean needle. Do not share needles with anyone.
- Use condoms when having sexual intercourse if you or your partner is not in a monogamous relationship or if you don't know if your partner has hepatitis.
- Have children vaccinated against hepatitis B.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
American Liver Foundation http://www.liverfoundation.org
BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Liver cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/livercancer/index . Accessed April 29, 2013.
Liver cancer. National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/liver . Accessed April 29, 2013.
Salem, R, Lewandowski, RJ, Mulcahy, MF, et al. Radioembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma using Yttrium-90 microspheres: a comprehensive report of long-term outcomes. Gastroenterology. 2010;138:52.
SHARP: study of heart and renal protection. Clinical Trials.gove website. Available at: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00125593 . Updated January 31, 2012. Accessed April 29, 2013.
3/19/2010 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Saunders D, Seidel D, Allison M, Lyratzopoulos G. Systematic review: the association between obesity and hepatocellular carcinoma—epidemiologic evidence. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Feb 18.