What is liver cancer?
Liver cancer occurs when abnormal cells form uncontrolledly in the liver tissues. Primitive cancer (also called HCC) is a cancer that originates in liver cells (called hepatocytes). Secondary or metastatic cancer comes from a cancer that first formed elsewhere in the body before it spread into the liver by blood.
The growth of abnormal cells can cause the formation of a benign or malignant tumor. A benign tumor does not threaten to spread to the rest of the organism and can be removed without the risk of complications. On the other hand, a malignant tumor has to be treated because it can spread and poses a threat to survival.
Located on the right side of the abdomen, under the diaphragm and to the right of the stomach, the liver is one of the most voluminous organs. His functions are multiple and important:
-It filters the toxins absorbed by the organism.
-It stores and transforms the nutrients absorbed by the intestines.
-It makes proteins that contribute to blood clotting.
-It produces bile that allows the body to absorb fats and cholesterol.
-It helps to regulate the rate of glucose (blood glucose) and certain hormones.
Symptoms of liver cancer
At the onset of the disease, liver cancer rarely triggers specific and obvious symptoms. It is therefore difficult to diagnose the disease at an early stage. This cancer is more often detected when it has reached an advanced stage. At this point, it can be manifested by the following symptoms:
-Unexplained weight loss
-Loss of appetite
-Nausea and vomiting
-The appearance of a mass in the region of the liver;
-Jaundice (complexion and yellow eyes, pale stools and dark urine).
Attention, these symptoms do not necessarily indicate the presence of a cancerous tumor. They may be signs of other more common health problems. If such symptoms occur, it is important to consult a physician to make the appropriate examinations and determine the cause, especially for those at risk.
People at risk:
-People with hepatitis B or C chronic
-Patients suffering from cirrhosis of the liver regardless of origin
-Those who consume excess alcohol.
-People with diabetes.
-People suffering from obesity.
-People suffering from iron overload (Hemochromatosis, a disease of genetic origin frequent in Brittany because of a mutation of a gene -transmitted by the Celtic ancestors);
-People who suffer from a fat overload at the level of the liver, such as:
-People with diabetes.
-People suffering from obesity
The most common form of primary liver cancer is Hepatocellular Carcinoma that forms from liver cells (hepatocytes).
There are other forms of liver cancer that are less common, such as the Cholangiocarcinoma that touches the duct that leads the bile produced by the liver to the gallbladder; Or the angiosarcoma, very rare, from the wall of the blood vessels of the liver.
It’s the fifth most common cancer in the world. In Canada, liver cancer is relatively rare and accounts for less than 1% of the cases and deaths caused by cancer.
Regions with the highest incidence of liver cancer are regions where hepatitis B hepatitis C virus infection is important, such as in Asia, Africa, Central or eastern Europe. Infection with the hepatitis B Virus would be implicated in 50 to 80% of cellular Hepato carcinomas.