Cancer as thought is terrifying and when it happens it deteriorates not just health and well-being but the peace of your loved ones. Having a brief understanding of how it begins, grows, and spreads can help in spreading awareness about it.
Liver Cancer is the sixth most common cancer. Liver cancer takes place in the cell of the liver. The liver is placed in the upper right portion of the abdomen, above the stomach and below the diaphragm.
Cancer that grows in the liver is different from one that spreads to the liver. Cancer that grows in some other part of the body such as the colon or breast and spreads to the liver is called metastatic cancer. Metastatic cancer is more common than one that stems from the liver.
The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma which is caused by hepatitis virus infection or cirrhosis.
Causes and risk factors
Liver cancer occurs when cells develop changes in DNA. DNA provides instructions for chemical processes. Mutations or changes in DNA cause changes in instructions. Cells grow uncontrollably and form a tumor of cancerous cells.
Here are a few risk factors for primary liver cancer.
Hepatitis B virus infection-
Hepatitis B Virus infection can be transmitted through childbirth, blood, semen, or other fluids in the body. It can cause inflammation and is the leading cause of liver cancer in Asia and Africa.
Hepatitis C virus infection-
Hepatitis C Virus Infection can be passed on via blood transmission and less often via sexual contact, and blood transfusion, however, the chances of that happening have lessened now since proper blood tests are done on a prior basis. It can cause cirrhosis which can further lead to cancer.
Cirrhosis is a disease in which healthier liver tissues are replaced by scar tissues. The scar tissues block the blood flow and make the liver dysfunctional. Alcoholism and hepatitis infections for a chronic period are the main cause of cirrhosis.
Alcohol can cause liver cancer in people who do not have liver cirrhosis. People who do alcohol heavily are more likely to develop liver cancer than those who do not have liver cirrhosis.
Liver cancer can be caused by Aflatoxins which is mold that grows on poorly stored crops that can end up in food products made from them.
NASH is a form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, meaning an abnormal level of fat in the liver. This can cause cirrhosis that can later turn into liver cancer.
Cigarette smoking has prominently been linked to liver cancer and the risk rises with the number of years the person has smoked.
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing liver cancer.
• Untreated hemochromatosis
• Glycogen storage disease
• Wilson disease
• Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
Liver cancer can be caused by many causes stated above but that doesn’t hide away from the fact that preventive measures can be taken. Cancer is an extremely serious disease and can take a massive toll on health both physically and mentally but understanding the condition can make us look at it pragmatically.