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Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a cancer that originates within that organ. This distinguishes it from cancers of other organs which metastasize into the liver. There is also a distinction between these and benign tumors which have not metastasized. These cancers are one potential cause of elevated liver enzymes. Remember, though, that many other reasons can also be behind raised enzymes, so seeing abnormally high levels on a test result does not necessarily indicate that there is a liver malignancy.

Symptoms

Some possible liver cancer symptoms are mentioned below. Consider that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. It may be possible to have liver cancer without presenting any of these symptoms (at least at the time). Moreover, these do not necessarily mean that a person does have such a cancer, as other medical conditions and diseases can cause them. Various types of malignancies of this organ can also cause different kinds of symptoms.

Abdominal and back pain
Abdominal mass
Anemia
Enlarged liver
Fever
Itching (pruritus)
Jaundice
Vomiting
Weight loss

Causes and risk factors

A study completed in 2009 may suggest that a deficiency of L-Carnitine could pose a risk factor for developing such malignancies.

Types

There are at least three forms of liver cancer: hepatoblastoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and cholangiocarcinoma. Hepatoblastoma is a form that is rare and affects children and infants. It is normal to find an abdominal mass in cases of this kind. Usually, hepatocellular carcinoma is brought on by cirrhosis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. Only about 10 to 20 percent of these can be totally taken out with surgery. Cholangiocarcinoma is actually a cancer of the bile ducts. These ducts are the passageway for bile to leave the liver and go to the small intestine.



Treatment

There are a number of different treatment methods for liver cancer, and the options may differ according to which type the person has, as well as other factors. Segmental resection, chemotherapy, and liver transplantation are a few options for hepatoblastomas. In some hepatocellular carcinoma situations, methods like radiotherapy or medication may be used. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and brachytherapy are a couple methods that may be used in patients with cholangiocarcinomas. Other options are also available, and some may be used in treatment for more than one of these types of liver cancer.

You can read further about elevated liver enzymes at the home page.

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