Liver cancer

Jul 10, 2012 , Zuzana Boučková

rakovina-jater.jpg - kopie
rakovina-jater.jpg - kopie
Liver cancer is tumorous disease developed from the liver cells. Liver cancer often arises on the basis of liver cirrhosis. Liver cancer can have a range of diverse symptoms. Treatment of liver cancer is in most cases based on surgery, either partial hepatotomy of the liver, or its transplantation..

Liver cancer

The liver cancer comes under tumorous diseases and is characterized by uncontrolled growth and proliferation of cells, which are amended in comparison to normal ones. Typical is primarily the change in the genetic code, thus within the DNA. Cancer is a general term for tumor, however, correctly we should have this name reserved only for malign tumor, i.e. carcinoma.


The liver is one of the most important organs of our body, and therefore the presence of cancer in its tissue is very serious concern. The liver has completely irreplaceable functions as processing and storage of nutrients, production of proteins and other components of blood. The liver is involved in digestion,  eliminates toxins and medicaments. The liver is center of metabolic processes and the largest gland of the body. The liver cancer is serious disease which prognosis depends on the stage of disease and how much is it spread through the body.

Types and symptoms of liver cancer

Liver cancer is a disease caused by the presence of malignant neoplasms in this organ. Generally are tumors divided into benign and malign. Malign tumors are those for which is typical aggressive growth and establishment of distant subsidiary deposits, so-called metastases. Benign tumors grow slowly, do not metastasize, but their size can oppress the surrounding tissue. In addition to primary tumors that originated in the liver are often in this organ metastases of tumors located elsewhere in the body, these are called secondary tumors. They settle mainly in the liver because the blood from whole digestive system flows through it and blood provides perfect way of transport for cancer cells.

  • Benign tumors of the liver occur rarely. Their presence is usually asymptomatic and without any clinical significance.
  • Malignant tumors, i.e. liver cancer, occurs unfortunately more frequently. Liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma professionally, which is formed directly from liver cells, is even the fifth most common cancer worldwide. However, its presence may not occur for some time. But gradually, the pain appears right below costal arch. Pain is caused by the growing of tumor, related oppression and damage to healthy surroundings. The patient may also complain about loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, feeling of fullness, indigestion, abdominal enlargement and swelling of the lower extremities. Often, at the later stage is jaundice developed.

Development of liver cancer

The liver cancer usually develops on the basis of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs mostly in individuals who consume excessive amounts of alcohol in the long-term or in people with chronic viral hepatitis B and C. Liver cancer occurs more often in men than in women. In liver tissue cells come to changes in the genetic information, i.e. in their DNA. This disrupts their regulation of growth, reproduction and other functions. So this way the cancer cells proliferate, grow and evolve independently of its host.

Diagnosis of liver cancer

Diagnosis of liver cancer include careful history, with a focus on personal anamnesis, in the actual examination by a physician and the use of imaging techniques. Ultrasound, CT or MRI of the abdomen is used to make the diagnosis. In addition, we can perform the biopsy of liver. This is the sampling of liver tissue, which is subjected to histological analysis. Furthermore, in the diagnosis of liver cancer is used ultrasound to display the vascularity of liver which typically changes in the presence of proliferating tumor. Essential are also laboratory tests during which are tumor markers in the blood assessed. These markers are substances which level of presence increases with proliferation of the tumor.

Treatment of liver cancer

Selection of a suitable method for treatment of liver cancer depends on the liver functions and tumor stage. Nowadays, the only method with a chance for complete cure is surgery. Partial hepatotomy or the liver transplant can be chosen. However, for patients to undergo these procedures, they must have well-preserved liver functions and overall good physical condition for the possibility of transplantation. Other methods are recommended for individuals whose disease can not be cured completely. On the cancer cells is applied cold, high temperature, laser, embolization of blood-vessels that bring to them necessary nutrition and suchlike. Radiotherapy nor chemotherapy  usually do not achieve satisfactory results. Length of survival of patients with liver cancer depends mostly on the size of tumor, presence of risk factors and especially on early diagnosis.


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