HCC or Hepatocellular Carcinoma – Primary Cancer of the Liver



While the most common cause of liver cancer that affects individuals in the United States is caused by a cancer that has originated within another part of the body and metastasized or spread, HCC or hepatocellular carcinoma is cancer that begins in the liver and accounts for up to fifty percent of all liver cancer worldwide. Fanconi-anaemia

Unfortunately, the prognosis for this type of liver cancer is extremely poor as only ten to twenty percent of the cancerous tumors that develop are able to be removed. The remaining cancer causes this condition to be fatal in the majority of patients within approximately three to six months. Hepatocellular carcinoma is most commonly seen in individuals who have developed cirrhosis which is the scarring of the liver that is caused from the damage done by various diseases and conditions. The most common cause of cirrhosis in the United States is the abuse of alcohol or alcoholism. The excess consumption of alcohol causes the normal tissues of the liver to be destroyed and replaced by scar tissue. Other causes of cirrhosis that can result in primary liver cancer are the hepatitis viruses B and C, birth defects, hemochromatosis (iron overload), and other chronic infections that affect the liver.

 Certain substances or environmental factors have also been associated with liver cancer and include smoking, chemicals including arsenic and vinyl chloride, and herbicides. Aflatoxins which are a type of plant mold that has been known to cause cancer have also been suspected as a contributing factor in liver cancer. Unfortunately, symptoms of HCC are typically not noticeable in the early stages and go undiscovered until the cancer has reached the later stages and has interfered with liver functioning. These symptoms include unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, a general feeling of tiredness or weakness and fatigue, nausea or vomiting, swelling of the abdomen and pain in the area of the upper abdomen, liver enlargement, and jaundice which is the yellowing of the skin and whites if the eyes. The treatment for liver cancer can vary significantly depending on what stage the cancer has reached. Fanconi-anaemia

The options that may be utilized in the treatment of liver cancer include surgical procedures that involve either the partial removal of the liver or a liver transplantation. Other methods of treatment that are typically used to treat other forms of cancer as well may include freezing or heating the cancer cells, the direct injection of alcohol into the tumors, chemotherapy and radiation. A drug called sorafenib has also been found to be effective in delaying the progression of those patients with primary liver cancers and is typically given to those patients who are in the later stages of this disease.The primary methods in order to reduce your risk of developing primary liver cancer or HCC, are avoiding the excessive use of alcohol and protecting yourself from the hepatitis viruses by safe sexual practices, avoiding illicit drug use and needle sharing, as well as making sure that if you get any body piercing or tattooing done, you ensure that it is done by a professional or shop that uses clean equipment and needles that are sterile.


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