Cancer is a scary word. But when you know all the facts, knowledge and understanding can reduce the fear. Find out everything you need to know about cancer and its effects...

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer can involve itself in the body through one of two types of cancer.  In this article you will learn about what these two types are, see some statistics, and better inform yourself about the dangers of this disease. 

Primary liver cancer is the first kind.  This kind of cancer originates in the liver.  The most common form of this cancer is called Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC for short). 
It is called primary liver cancer because it primarily affects the liver.  The liver is about the size of a football and is located in the upper right area of the abdomen.  Most cases of this disease are due to a previous and ongoing infection of Hepatitis B or C. 

Primary cancer of the liver can be because of the liver cells themselves or from the internal tubing structure of the body. The bile draining from the liver can actually cause this type of cancer.. 

The second kind of liver cancer is called metastatic.  This means that the cancer has travelled from a tumour somewhere else in the body and has taken up residence in the liver.  Metastatic cancers can affect any organ in the body; it just happens that metastatic cancer can spread to the liver. 

In comparison to other cancer types we know about, primary cancer of the liver is quite rare.  This doesn't mean that the risk factors associated with it are any less dangerous, however.

Liver Cancer - Progression and Prognosis

The outlook for survival in patients with primary and metastatic liver cancer are dependent upon the size of the tumour and the stage the cancer is in.  Generally, cancers are described to be in one of four stages.  I, II, III, or IV.  The size of the tumour, how deeply it has penetrated, and other factors are used by doctors to determine the stage of the cancer. 

The prognosis of liver cancer is very poor.  Only 10%-20% of hepatocellular carcinomas can be removed completely.  This is a very sobering statistic for people with this type of cancer.  Within 3-6 months of diagnosis the disease is almost always deadly. 

Liver Cancer Risk Factors

One of the biggest risk factors for cancer of the liver is Hepatitis B or C.  These are especially problematic viral infections of the liver.  Preventing yourself from being infected with Hepatitis B or C is the best way to ensure your liver doesn't succumb to the damage these diseases cause.  Hepatitis is blood borne, so as long as you don't come in contact with an infected persons blood, you should be OK. 

Cirrhosis of the liver is another risk factor.  Cirrhosis of the liver is actually the growth of scar tissue that hinders the livers ability to function.  People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol are more susceptible to Cirrhosis. 

Certain chemicals can also trigger the onset of cancer.  Chemicals like aflotoxin, anabolic steroids, and arsenic are all linked to an increase in cancer of the liver.