Primary liver cancer has many causes. Many must be aware of it by doing some liver cancer prevention tips. However, what is the primary reason behind liver cancer? The answer is liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver tissue). This is due to too much consumption of alcohol or being infected with the hepatitis B or C virus.
Infection with the hepatitis B or C virus accounts for up to 80% of all primary liver cancer cases. Being infected with either of the pathogens can affect you in the long-term and can lead to liver cirrhosis. Its mode of transmission is through physical contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who possesses the virus inside their bodies.
Getting infected with either of the viruses can be achieved through the following practices:
- a blood transfusion, if received before 1992
- sharing unsterilized needles
- unprotected sex
Primary liver cancer caused by viral hepatitis tends to progress slowly over 20 to 30 years, therefore early screening is advised to prevent its progression and prevent it from getting complicated.
There are two causative agents responsible for primary liver cancer, these are:
- Hepatitis B virus
- Hepatitis C virus
Symptoms of liver cancer include the following:
- an overall feeling of poor health or weakness
- darkening of the urine
- generalized itching
- lightening in the color of the stool
- loss of usual appetite and weight loss
- pain or discomfort in your abdomen
- swelling of the legs and abdomen
- yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
Obtaining an accurate diagnosis or through liver cancer prevention are keys to having the appropriate treatment for your liver cancer. It is best if you get screened right away, so that the disease could be caught and treated at its early stages.
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) can indicate that you have fibrolamellar-hepatocellular carcinoma. That test is essential in making a diagnosis of primary liver cancer.
The following are some of the diagnostics which may be requested by your doctor to help them make a definitive and conclusive diagnosis:
- Blood Tests
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Testing for Fibrolamellar-Hepatocellular Carcinoma (FLL-HCC)
- Genetic Testing of Tumors
Treatment strategies in treating primary liver cancer are homologous to other cancer treatment strategies. They include the usual such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, etc. However, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Therefore, preventing liver cancer in the first place by following these key points is better. These include:
- Avoid and treat hepatitis B and C infections
- Limit alcohol and tobacco use
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight
- Limit exposure to cancer-causing chemicals
- Treat diseases that increase liver cancer risk