Liver Cancer - Metastases, Signs, Symptoms, Stages And Treatment Of Liver Cancer, How Long Do They Live?

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Video: Liver Cancer - Metastases, Signs, Symptoms, Stages And Treatment Of Liver Cancer, How Long Do They Live?

Video: Liver Cancer - Metastases, Signs, Symptoms, Stages And Treatment Of Liver Cancer, How Long Do They Live?
Video: What Are the Symptoms of Liver Cancer? 2023, March
Liver Cancer - Metastases, Signs, Symptoms, Stages And Treatment Of Liver Cancer, How Long Do They Live?
Liver Cancer - Metastases, Signs, Symptoms, Stages And Treatment Of Liver Cancer, How Long Do They Live?

Causes, signs, symptoms, stages and treatment of liver cancer


  • Liver cancer symptoms
  • Liver Cancer Causes
  • Stages and degrees of liver cancer
  • Liver cancer metastases
  • Diagnosis of liver cancer
  • Liver cancer treatment
  • Diet for liver cancer
  • Treatment of liver cancer with folk remedies

What is liver cancer?

Liver cancer is a malignant formation that is a consequence of the process of converting hepatocytes into tumor cells. This type of disease is called hepatocellular carcinoma or primary cancer. It is found in only 3-5% of all patients in whom a malignant liver tumor was found. The most common type of disease is secondary cancer. Initially, a malignant tumor in this case affects other organs and tissues. Most often, it is formed in the stomach, ovaries, colon, uterus, lungs, kidneys, mammary glands. But with the flow of blood, cells spread throughout the body and lead to the formation of liver cancer. It is also often called metastatic.

In addition to hepatocellular carcinoma, the following types of liver cancer are distinguished:

  • Cholangiocellular. It is quite rare in comparison with other species and is associated with a mutation of the cells of the epithelial tissue of the bile ducts. In the early stages, the disease is difficult to diagnose, patients do not experience pain or discomfort. Therefore, cholangiocellular liver cancer is most often detected too late, when the operation no longer gives positive results.
  • Hepatocholangiocellular carcioma. This species combines features of cholangiocellular carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Symptoms and external manifestations of the disease are the same as in the case of primary cancer.
  • Fibrolamellar carcinoma. It is typical for people under the age of 35, including this type of cancer occurs in children. It can be identified by pains on the right side under the ribs. Fibrolamellar carcinoma diagnosed in time is treated with liver tissue transplantation and resection.

  • Cystadenocarcinoma. In medicine, cases of this type of liver cancer are considered rare. Women are more susceptible to cystadenocarcinoma, although it also occurs among men. The development of the disease is accompanied by tangible pain in the lower abdomen, the patient quickly loses weight. On examination, a large tumor is visible, resembling a cyst in structure. This is due to the fact that cystadenocarcinoma in some cases is formed from a congenital cyst or benign cystadenoma.
  • Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma. It is the least malignant in comparison with all other liver tumors, and also develops more slowly. Like other types of this disease, the main symptom of epithelioid hemangioendothelioma is abdominal pain. The likelihood of spreading metastases throughout the body is high, so early diagnosis is important.
  • Angiosarcoma. Older people suffer from liver cancer of this type. It is most likely to develop in those who have been exposed to substances such as arsenic, vinyl chloride, and some other chemical compounds. A tumor with angiosarcoma spreads throughout the organ from the blood vessels. The process of formation of hemangiosarcoma is similar. At the same time, the development of the disease passes very quickly: the patient constantly experiences weakness, loses appetite and weight. It is difficult to cope with angiosarcoma, it is practically not operable. In most cases, it is only possible to slow the rate of development of this liver cancer.

  • Hepatoblastoma. Such a tumor develops in young children under the age of 4 years. The child experiences accelerated sexual development due to the production of special hormones, weight decreases, but at the same time the belly increases. In rare cases, hepatoblastoma occurs in patients in adulthood.
  • Undifferentiated sarcoma. This type of liver cancer is difficult to treat. The tumor forms and develops very quickly. At the same time, the patient has a fever and fever, and the blood sugar level can rise sharply. The tumor can spread to nearby organs. Undifferentiated sarcoma is more common in children than in adults.

Life expectancy in liver cancer

liver cancer
liver cancer

The likelihood of a favorable outcome in liver cancer is much lower than in cases with other malignant tumors. The reason for this is the late diagnosis of the disease. The symptoms of liver cancer are similar to many other diseases, and treatment is primarily based on them. Therefore, the tumor is detected too late. Primary liver cancer is rare, more often secondary, when the organ is affected by metastases. The tumor itself forms in other tissues. This is another reason why liver cancer is difficult to diagnose.

Therefore, the patient's life expectancy is reduced to several years, and sometimes months. It also depends a lot on the type of tumor. Patients with fibrolamellar carcinoma live from 2 to 5 years, and in some cases even longer. For example, if metastases have not yet spread to other organs. Life expectancy in hepatoblastoma and cystadenocarcinoma reaches 5 years, subject to successful liver resection, and in angiosarcoma - only 2 years after the onset of the tumor. The worst prognosis is in patients with undifferentiated liver sarcoma. The disease progresses extremely rapidly, so life expectancy is only a few months.

All liver cancers can be classified as operable or inoperable. In the first case, the life expectancy after surgery reaches several years, and in the second - only 4 months. In this case, the presence of concomitant diseases, the stage of liver cancer, the prescribed treatment and even the psychological state of the patient are of great importance. An optimistic mindset contributes to the effective operation of medical procedures and drugs.

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Liver cancer symptoms

Liver cancer symptoms
Liver cancer symptoms
  • General deterioration of the patient's condition. Patients with liver cancer quickly lose weight. Young children may even have anorexia. Appetite disappears, fatigue quickly appears, fatigue increases.
  • Digestive disorders. They are responsible for the weight loss associated with liver cancer. Digestive disorders are manifested in the form of diarrhea, nausea, turning into vomiting, increased gas production.
  • Pain in the abdomen. This symptom is seen in the majority of patients with liver cancer. In the early stages of tumor development, pain appears on the right under the ribs only during physical activity, for example, running or walking, lifting weights. Gradually, discomfort is felt in a calm state. At the same time, the abdomen increases in volume due to the growth of the tumor. On this basis, patients can independently assume the presence of liver cancer.

  • Increased body temperature. It reaches 38 ° C and is kept at this level. The reason for the increase in body temperature is the intoxication of the body.
  • Jaundice. The tumor prevents the movement of bile from the liver ducts into the intestines. As a result, its products enter the bloodstream, and jaundice develops. It can be identified by spots on the skin of a characteristic yellow color. The whites of the patient's eyes acquire the same shade. The color of the urine becomes richer, and the feces, on the contrary, lighter.
  • Ascites. The abdomen with liver cancer can increase in volume not only due to the tumor itself, but also as a result of the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. The reason for this is the blockage by cancer cells of its output. They also irritate the lining of the abdomen, which also leads to the accumulation of fluid in it.
  • Epistaxis or internal bleeding.

Liver Cancer Causes

  • Chronic viral hepatitis. When the pathogen of this infection enters the body, the disease develops in most cases. As a result, complete recovery is possible, but in some cases viral hepatitis becomes chronic. According to doctors, this is due to the state of the patient's immunity. In hepatitis, the causative agent of the infection is the virus develops in the liver. In the case of a chronic disease, various complications are possible, including hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Bad habits. Alcohol and tobacco are detrimental to the liver, as they damage organ cells. When combined, they lead to the appearance of malignant tumors, which has been proven based on research. With alcohol and tobacco abuse, the risk of developing hepatocellular liver cancer is greatest. In this case, hepatitis increases the likelihood of a tumor.
  • Hemochromatosis. This term denotes the state of the body when the content of iron and its compounds in it exceeds the permissible norm. Hemochromatosis is inherited, so if one of the relatives has suffered it, you should pay attention to this. The disease leads to problems in the liver, and as a result - to cirrhosis or cancer. These serious complications can be prevented by identifying hemochromatosis and starting treatment on time.

  • Cirrhosis of the liver. The main cause of this disease is alcohol abuse. In combination with viral hepatitis, it leads to cirrhosis, which contributes to the formation of a malignant tumor. The disease itself is not considered oncological and manifests itself in improper liver function, as well as deformation of its tissues. But since it is a factor contributing to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, every six months, patients undergo an examination, on the basis of which the presence of cancer cells is determined.
  • Syphilis. This disease is viral and damages liver cells. Jaundice is one of the symptoms of syphilis. The active destruction of the liver during the course of the disease leads to the formation of cancerous tumors.
  • Cholelithiasis. Stones that form in the bile ducts prevent the excretion of bile from the bladder. This causes not only severe pain for the patient, but also such serious complications as liver cancer. To avoid the formation of a tumor, it is necessary to get rid of the stones. Perhaps this is only with the help of a surgical operation.

  • Diabetes. Patients with high blood glucose levels are more likely to develop liver cancer. The risk increases if the disease is associated with other factors: alcoholism, smoking, viral hepatitis and cirrhosis. Diabetes mellitus contributes to the accumulation of lipids that cause serious liver damage such as cancer.
  • Anabolic steroid. These drugs are used to accelerate the growth of muscle tissue and act like male hormones - dihydrotestosterone and testosterone. Due to this property, anabolic steroids have long been used in bodybuilding. However, their harmful effects on the body have been identified. The assimilation of anabolic steroids takes place in the liver, which is under heavy stress. When taking these drugs, both benign and malignant tumors can form. The former, after a course of steroids, dissolve, and the latter, on the contrary, progress.
  • Genetic predisposition. The risk of developing liver cancer increases in patients with a family history of the disease. In this case, regular examinations for the presence of tumor cells should be performed more often.

  • Parasites. On the basis of practical research, it was revealed that a parasite such as opisthorchus, which lives in river fish, leads to liver cancer. He is able to live for a long time outside his usual environment. Most of the fish of the carp family are infected with it. Opisthorchus, which affects the liver and other organs, leads to the formation of malignant cells and the development of cholangiocarcinoma.
  • Exposure to chemicals. Arsenic and radium are considered the most dangerous. They contribute to the development of hemangiosarcoma and angiosarcoma. Vinyl chloride and thorium can also cause them.
  • Aflatoxin B1. Soybeans, rice, grains, wheat stored in a humid and warm environment contain a special kind of mushroom. Aflatoxin B1 is a waste product and can cause gene mutations that lead to the development of liver cancer.
  • Contraceptive drugs. They contain estrogen - a special female hormone and contribute to the formation of benign tumors, which in some cases turn into malignant ones.

See also: Other liver diseases and methods for its restoration

Stages and degrees of liver cancer

Liver cancer symptoms
Liver cancer symptoms

Grade I liver cancer

At this stage of the disease, the tumor had just formed and did not have time to penetrate the vessels. Its size may vary. But in general, a stage I tumor affects no more than a quarter of the liver. This is largely why it is so difficult to diagnose cancer at this stage. All symptoms are poorly expressed, the patient may complain of weakness, rapid fatigue. In addition, a grade I malignant tumor does not interfere with normal liver function. It is often found when other diseases are suspected. But during the examination, cancer is confirmed.

If it was possible to diagnose the disease at stage I, this is a great success. Treatment will be most effective and more likely to have positive dynamics. Therefore, patients at risk, for example, patients with viral hepatitis, alcohol abuse, smokers, are advised to undergo an examination as often as possible to detect liver cancer cells.

Grade II liver cancer

At this stage, the tumor grows in size and enters the blood vessels. The symptoms of the disease are more pronounced. The patient may periodically experience abdominal pain during physical exertion. A malignant tumor takes different forms.

Grade III liver cancer

It is divided into several stages. The first of them is designated 3A in medicine and implies that the tumor has managed to affect the hepatic or portal vein. There can be several malignant formations at this stage, each of them being of considerable size. This allows a specialist to diagnose liver cancer through an examination. After all, a large tumor leads to seals that are visible externally.

In stage 3B, the cells of the malignant formation are connected with organs located near the liver. The only exception is the bladder. Another option is also possible, when the tumor is attached to the outer shell of the liver.

If malignant cells have affected not only the organ itself, but also the lymph nodes, this indicates that stage 3C has come. In this case, the tumor also affects other organs of the body.

Grade IV liver cancer

This stage is considered the most difficult of all possible. The tumor has already managed not only to affect most of the liver, but also spread by metastases throughout the body, affecting other organs. This happens through the bloodstream.

The maximum life expectancy for patients with grade IV liver cancer is 5 years. However, such cases are rare. Most often, with the rapid progression of the disease, death occurs after several months.

Effective treatment of liver cancer at this stage is almost impossible. Doctors are trying only to prolong the patient's life by supporting the functioning of the body systems longer and slowing down the proliferation of malignant tumor cells, which occurs uncontrollably. For this, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used. Surgical intervention at stage IV cancer is already pointless.

It is often diagnosed during the initial visit of the patient to the doctor. This is due to the asymptomatic course of tumor development. She begins to bother the patient only in the last stages, when it is no longer possible to help him.

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Liver cancer metastases

Metastasis is the appearance of foci of development of a malignant tumor. The spread of its cells occurs with the flow of blood and lymph. Their number is constantly increasing, and soon metastases, like a tumor, begin to increase in size.

Secondary liver cancer is most common. The tumor forms in the region of the stomach, mammary glands, lungs, pancreas, and then metastasis to the liver occurs. This is due to the intense blood circulation in this organ. Blood enters the liver through both the arterial and portal systems, that is, through the portal vein. In cases of primary cancer, when a tumor forms in the liver, its metastases can affect the brain, heart, kidneys and spine.

Diagnosis of liver cancer

Diagnosis of liver cancer
Diagnosis of liver cancer
  • The doctor can draw some conclusions based on the patient's sensations and visual examination. Palpation allows you to determine the presence of ascites and abdominal enlargement, which is one of the symptoms of liver cancer. Blood tests in these patients usually show elevated levels of urobilin and bilirubin.
  • Ultrasound examination allows you to obtain detailed information about the presence and structure of the tumor, to determine its size and its malignancy. Ultrasound makes it possible to carry out a puncture without disturbing the skin. This is how the doctor can distinguish liver cancer from other diseases with similar symptoms.
  • Another diagnostic method in this case is computed tomography. Before the procedure, the patient takes an oral contrast agent. It strengthens the contours of the organs, so the doctor can clearly see the boundaries and shape of the tumor. With the help of computed tomography, not only the degree of damage to the liver is determined, but also the blood vessels located next to it.
  • During magnetic resonance imaging, the patient is placed in a narrow tube that emits radio waves. They are absorbed by the tissues of the body, as a result of which malignant formations can be seen on the computer.

Despite the abundance of various diagnostic methods, the most accurate of them is a biopsy. It involves taking a tissue sample, the study of which allows you to determine the presence of liver cancer cells in the body.

Liver cancer treatment

Treatment of liver cancer is prescribed depending on the nature of the tumor, the stage of the disease and the individual characteristics of the patient's body.

In the early stages, surgical methods are effective:

  • If the tumor is detected at stage I, then part of the liver can be removed - resection. At the same time, most of the organ is preserved, and the malignant formation is completely eliminated.
  • In a hemihepatectomy, the surgeon removes half of the liver affected by the tumor. The rest of the organ performs all functions for some time, and then the liver is restored to its previous size.

Before surgery or if the patient is intolerant of general anesthesia, which makes surgery impossible, radiofrequency ablation is used. This procedure involves the destruction of liver cancer cells using radio waves. To achieve the best result, it is carried out several times.

Chemotherapy for liver cancer

A number of chemicals are used to fight cancer cells. However, due to their quick addiction, they lose their effectiveness. To avoid this, a special method is used - infusion, which is carried out through the hepatic artery. Thus, the chemical reaches all liver cells and does not affect other tissues and organs. The most common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea that turns into vomiting, bleeding, hair loss, and general malaise.

To reduce the effects of antibiotics and increase their effectiveness, special enzyme preparations should be used, for example, wobenzym.

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Diet for liver cancer

Diet for liver cancer
Diet for liver cancer

Nutrition plays an important role in the fight against serious diseases such as cancer. It should be as balanced as possible without overloading the liver. It is recommended to eat in small portions as often as possible.

All products can be conditionally divided into three groups. The first includes those that are considered beneficial for patients with liver cancer. These include dairy products, cereals, carrot and beet juice, most fruits and vegetables, rice, buckwheat, millet. Cereals can be used to make soups that are very nutritious but easy to digest. Carrot juice has a positive effect on liver function.

In limited quantities, you can eat foods that belong to the second group. Among them were vegetable and fruit juices, cottage cheese and butter, tea, eggs and butter. Protein deficiency is common in patients with liver cancer. To make up for the lack of this important element, it is necessary to eat meat and fish. Preference should be given to low-fat varieties, for example, veal, chicken, cod, pike perch. Herring will increase your appetite, just like sauerkraut. This is especially important for patients with cancer, who in most cases have no appetite.

The third group includes all products harmful to patients. These are alcohol, coffee, carbonated drinks, margarine, sugar, fatty meat. You should refuse any products in the preparation of which preservatives and flavor enhancers, hot spices and other additives were used.

Dishes should be steamed or oven-baked. Products can be boiled, stewed, but nothing can be fried in oil, so as not to create an additional load on the liver. Those who cannot refuse fatty sweets - cakes, pastries, can replace them with marshmallow, marshmallow or marmalade. However, eat such food in small quantities and not too often. If edema develops, it is necessary to reduce water intake and avoid salt. If the patient is vomiting, on the contrary, the amount of liquid drunk should be increased.

Treatment of liver cancer with folk remedies

The use of folk remedies must be combined with traditional methods of treatment. Liver cancer is a serious disease that is almost impossible to cope with without the help of chemicals.

But you can improve the effect of them with the help of folk remedies.

  • Daily before meals, you can take a decoction of oats. For its preparation, the grains are poured with water and cooked over low heat, and then filtered.
  • Helpful in the treatment of liver cancer and watermelon juice. You need to drink it several times a day with a spoonful of honey. You can replace watermelon juice with birch juice by drinking 2 glasses daily.
  • Propolis can be eaten 40-60 minutes before meals at least 3 times a day. As an alternative, oil from it is also used. It is mixed with boiling butter and kept on low heat for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Use the resulting mixture several times a day for a tablespoon.

See also: Rare Traditional Medicine Recipes Used For Cancer


The author of the article: Bykov Evgeny Pavlovich | Oncologist, surgeon

Education: graduated from residency at the Russian Scientific Oncological Center. N. N. Blokhin "and received a diploma in the specialty" Oncologist"

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