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Liver Cancer Prevention, Symptoms, Early Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Prevention is always better than cure; Known major risk factors for liver cancer are Alcohol, Smoking, Hepatitis B and C Infection, Fatty liver disease; If we quit alcohol and smoking not only liver cancer risk but we can reduce the risk for so many other cancer also; Hepatitis B & C infection spread from one infected person to other through sexual contact, using infected needles and syringes and through blood and blood products, so by taking precautions these infections can also be prevented, Hepatitis B Vaccine is also available; Fatty liver disease in now emerging as the major cause of liver damage and as liver cancer risk factor, Major cause of fatty liver disease is obesity and diabetes, Weight control by means of healthy life style and good diabetic control can reverse it

The symptoms of Liver cancer are right upper abdomen pain, anorexia and weight loss; Sometime patient present with symptoms of chronic liver disease such as hematemesis (blood in vomitus), black colored stools, Abdomen distension due to ascites, jaundice and during investigation they are found to have chronic liver disease along with Liver cancer

Cancer patients survival rate is is good if detected and treated at early stage, In patients of chronic liver disease routine USG and a blood test for alpha feto protein level is done every 6 month; These tests can detect cancer at early stage when the tumor size is small

Once Ultrasound suggest a mass lesion in the liver, triple phase CT abdomen is done to further delineate the lesion and for any other lesion not picked by USG, CECT chest is also done for staging purpose

Treatment options for liver cancer patients are Surgery, Local ablative procedures and chemotherapy; Surgery is the preferred one, There are two options in surgery one is liver transplantation and other is liver resection, Liver transplantation is preferred in those patients who have liver cancer on background of chronic liver disease, as the chances of recurrence after liver resection is high in these patients, In 20% patients liver cancer develop on background of normal liver, liver resection is the treatment of choice in these patients; Local ablative procedures are done when patient is not fit for surgery and as a bridge to liver transplant but the results are inferior to surgery; Chemotherapy is used in advanced cancer