Liver cancer: symptoms, classification, treatment principles
Liver cancer refers to extremely serious diseases that lead to the patient's death in just a few months of its development.If an early diagnosis was performed and the patient is provided with qualified medical care, then there is an opportunity to increase the patient's life expectancy, and in some cases even completely cure it of pathology by modern methods.Forecasts for diagnosing the disease in question are ambiguous, but it can be confidently asserted that the earlier the disease is detected, the greater the chance for the patient's recovery.Table of contents:
Classification of liver cancer
In medicine, it is customary to distinguish between two types of a considered disease, according to the type of its origin.
It is spoken about in cases where the development and growth of pathological cells starts from the liver's own tissues.Most often, malignant cells are formed from:
- hepatocytes( normal liver cells) - hepatocytocillular cancer;
- of the bile duct tissue - cholangiocarcinoma;
- vessels that feed liver tissue - angiosarcoma;
- immature cells - hepatoblastoma.
Primary cancer is diagnosed in 3% of cases of detection of malignant liver diseases.
It is also called metastatic, as it develops as a result of the germination of metastasis of malignant tumors of other organs in the liver tissue.According to statistics, it is the secondary type of the examined disease that is diagnosed by doctors most often.
Causes of liver cancer
Based on the classification of the disease in question for species, the causes of liver cancer can be:
- Metastases.Malignant cells from other organs penetrate and begin to develop in the liver tissues.
- Pathological changes in the liver's own cells.And they can occur because of external and internal influences.
External and internal factors of influence provoking the development of liver cancer:
Diseases of the liver
Hepatitis is the most common cause of liver cancer, especially if the pathology continues for a long time.The problem is that hepatitis is usually asymptomatic, so it is always difficult to diagnose and often not treated.More often, hepatitis is caused by younger people who actively use injecting drugs and indulge in indiscriminate intimate life.But the risk of infection is absolutely all people - for example, often infection with hepatitis occurs when illiterate medical manipulations are carried out.
Hepatitis, despite the absence of symptoms, progresses and turns into cirrhosis of the liver - this pathology and is the cause of the appearance of tumors in the organ.And in this case there is a change in the genetic material, in the cells of the liver, reading and re-creation of DNA are disturbed, pathologically altered cells do not function within the limits of the norm, are mutated and rapidly transformed into malignant cells.
Another disease that can serve as a factor in the development of the disease in question is cholelithiasis, especially when there is an active movement of stones and sand.With this development of the disease, the bile ducts become severely injured, the consequence is their inflammation.It is the inflammatory process that provokes a mutation of healthy cells into malignant cells.
The mutation of healthy liver cells leads to syphilitic damage to the body.
Prolonged exposure to the body of toxins
Most often, doctors note the development of liver cancer with prolonged exposure to the body of alcohol. But other poisoning agents can provoke the growth of malignant cells:
- vegetables and fruits grown with technology disruptions - for example, using pesticides;
- are carcinogenic substances - they can be associated with occupational human occupation.
Besides, molds can lead to a mutation of healthy cells - they release aflatoxins, which are recognized as strong poison agents.Of course, a person does not use mold products, but you can even not notice the presence of these harmful fungi - for example, this may apply to tea packaged.
Helminth infection with
Doctors note that pathological changes in liver cells can also begin when the worm infects - in the bile ducts the trematodes that belong to the class of flatworms "settle".They actively feed on bile and human blood, and the products of their vital activity provoke inflammatory processes.This inflammation lasts for a long time, which causes mutational processes in healthy liver cells.
Hemochromatosis - an excess of iron in the body
The spreading of various dietary supplements causes doctors to "shout out" - their uncontrolled use can lead to the development of the disease in question.Most often, vitamin complexes and dietary supplements, which are actively advertised in all media, contain a large amount of iron.They can be useful, but only if such drugs are prescribed by a specialist, otherwise, excess iron in the body will lead to the appearance of malignant cells in the liver tissues.
Any medicine heavily loads the liver, even medicinal plants are exactly the same and act on this organ!And antibacterial drugs( antibiotics) and some plants containing minimal doses of poison have a hepatotoxic effect.Therefore, the doctors insist on the moderate use of any medications, consultations with doctors before beginning their use.
The fewer medicines a person consumes, the lower the risk of developing malignant neoplasms in the liver.
Note: recently doctors confidently say that hereditary predisposition plays a significant role in the development of liver cancer.This means that the risk of developing malignancy in the liver is much higher in those whose relative suffered the disease.
Stages of liver cancer, symptoms
Doctors distinguish 4 stages of development of the disease in question.Symptoms of liver cancer will depend on this differentiation, and on the presence of concomitant organ pathologies.
First stage of liver cancer
In this case, the tumor is at the stage of formation, its size is small and is less than ¼ of the volume of the liver, the vessels and surrounding tissues are still intact.Most often, the symptoms at this stage are little expressed and are taken for signs of other diseases, which is the problem in diagnosing the disease in question. Symptoms of the first stage of liver cancer include:
- too fast physical fatigue;
- reduced availability;
- rapid fatigue in mental work.
In this case, the performance of the liver does not decrease, and these signs are taken for the usual chronic fatigue, which causes the impossibility of diagnosing the disease in question.
Note: to exclude the development of liver cancer and diagnose it in the first stage of progression, people at risk should undergo an annual examination.This category includes those who have already diagnosed with diabetes, hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcohol / drug dependence or there is a factor of harmfulness of work.
If treatment for the first stage of liver cancer is absent, then the tumor grows rapidly and begins to spread to the blood vessels.The size of the malignant neoplasm does not exceed 5 cm, but the patient is already beginning to notice the increasing intensity of symptoms characteristic of the first stage of the disease.To weakness and fatigue are added pains in the abdomen of the aching / dull character, moreover, the pain syndrome is localized specifically in the right hypochondrium, but in some cases the painful sensations move to the lumbar spine.
Pain in the second stage of liver cancer development is at first episodic and often appears only on the background of physical exertion, but with the development of pathology, the increase in tumor growth becomes constant with moderate intensity.
In the second stage of the disease in question, digestion disorders may occur:
- nausea and vomiting, regardless of food intake;
- frequently occurs diarrhea;
- flatulence and bloating after each meal;
- a significant decrease in appetite.
Similar digestive disorders lead to significant weight loss in the patient, and weight loss is always sharp and occurs in just a few weeks.
Note: in the second stage of liver cancer in patients can experience a periodic increase in temperature to subfebrile values (no higher than 38 degrees) - so the body reacts to toxins that are produced by a growing malignant tumor.
The third stage of the
The tumor continues to grow actively, its size exceeds 5 cm, while examining the liver, several foci of malignant cells can be detected.Most often, the diagnosis of the disease under consideration occurs at the third stage of development, because the symptoms acquire a pronounced character. In medicine, the third stage of liver cancer is divided into three subspecies:
- 3a - malignant cells spread to the hepatic and portal veins;
- 3c - Cancer cells begin to integrate with the organs that surround the liver( usually only the bladder remains unaffected).In some cases, tumor cells coalesce with the external part of the liver;
- 3c - Malignant neoplasm affects the lymph nodes that are close to the liver.
Signs of the disease under consideration at the third stage of development are clearly defined:
- Enlarged liver.The doctor determines this even with palpation, and small seals in the organ can be probed - the liver is characterized as tuberous and dense.The patient also notes an increase in the volume of the abdomen, which has clear boundaries - the upper right side of the abdomen.
- Feeling of bursting.It is present in the right hypochondrium and is a sign of progression, active growth of malignant neoplasm.
- Extensive edema.They are caused by a violation of the outflow of fluid, since the malignant tumor squeezes the vessels.
- Jaundice.Appears as a result of a decrease in the capacity of the bile ducts, appears periodically.
In addition, other symptoms appear in patients that can be easily associated with liver cancer:
- in the peritoneum there is a free fluid( ascites);
- develops hepatic insufficiency( manifests with nasal bleeding);
- increases vascular fragility( intra-abdominal bleeding occurs);
- disrupted the activity of certain organs of the endocrine system;
- small vessels dilate on the background of absence of inflammation in them( skin telangiectasias - vascular sprocket and mesh).
The general condition of the patient deteriorates significantly, he is constantly worried about severe pain.
This stage of liver cancer is incurable, since there is an expansion of metastases to all organs and systems of the body.Doctors in this case can only shorten the patient's condition for a short time, support the work of the organs and thus prolong his life.
Symptoms for the fourth stage of liver cancer will be the same as before, but as intense as possible.At the same time, symptoms of malignant damage to other organs develop, where metastases spread to the bloodstream.
How is liver cancer diagnosed
Naturally, to make an accurate diagnosis, the doctor will refer the patient to a full examination. As part of the diagnostic, the following "activities" are carried out:
- Tool-free inspection.The doctor performs palpation, during which he can determine the structure and size of the organ affected by malignant cells.
- Laboratory examination of blood and urine.There will be an increase in the level of bilirubin in the blood, and in the urine - the presence of urobilin.
- Ultrasound examination.The specialist will notice a violation of the size of the liver, its density and structure.Usually a doctor can see a malignant neoplasm on the monitor of a good device.
- Computed tomography.This examination is appointed to clarify the diagnosis, is carried out using a contrast medium, which allows for a more detailed examination of the affected organ.
- Magnetic resonance imaging.This method of examination to date is considered the most effective - the doctor has the opportunity to conduct liver diagnostics more fully, to study this body from all angles.
- Biopsy.For examination in the patient, a small fragment of the liver is taken, which is studied in the laboratory.
In addition, other methods of examining and diagnosing liver cancer can be used.For example, malignant neoplasm can be seen under X-ray or radioisotope scanning.
Principles of treatment of liver cancer
Treatment is strictly individualized, as it all depends on the stage of the disease, the general health of the patient and the presence of concomitant pathologies .If liver cancer has been diagnosed at an early stage of development, then the most effective will be surgical methods of treatment:
- Resection of the organ.It is carried out only at the 1 stage of a malignant disease, a small part of the liver is removed, in the future the organ functions within the limits of the norm.
- Gemihepatectomy.Surgical treatment of cancer, when a doctor removes half of the liver, which was affected by a malignant neoplasm.Some time after the operation, the remaining half of the organ functions in a strengthened mode, with time the liver size is restored.
If surgery is not possible for any reason, then the doctors conduct radiofrequency ablation, a procedure in which malignant cells are destroyed by radio waves.For the result to be maximally positive, this procedure can be performed several times.
Certain chemicals are often used to control malignant cells, but there is also a problem - cancer cells get used to them too quickly, and there will be no effectiveness from treatment at all.Therefore, doctors use the introduction of a selected chemical drug through the hepatic artery, which ensures the delivery of a powerful drug directly to the liver cells without damaging the tissues of other organs.
Side effects of chemotherapy:
- nausea, always vomiting;
- hair loss;
- general weakness.
Diet for liver cancer
Nutrition during the progression and treatment of the disease in question should be as balanced as possible, taking the patient's food in small portions, but often. The products that must necessarily be included in the diet include:
- all dairy products and whole milk proper;
- are cereals;
- vegetable juice - it is recommended to prefer beet and carrot;
- almost all existing fruit;
- rice, buckwheat and millet.
There are a number of products that need to be used by patients, but their number should be limited - for example, eggs, tea, veal, chicken, cod, pike perch, sauerkraut.Under a strict ban are alcoholic beverages, coffee, sugar, fat meats, spices and seasonings, sauces, canned foods.
All meals for a liver cancer patient should be cooked in steaming or in the oven, simply cooked or stewed, but in no case can the products be fried in oil - these dishes will create an additional burden on the liver.If the patient has swelling, the doctor will recommend that he give up salt and reduce the amount of liquid that is drunk.
Treatment of liver cancer with folk remedies
In no case should it be possible to use only funds from the category "traditional medicine" for the treatment of liver cancer!Without chemicals or surgery, there will be no positive results!
But it should be noted right away - some folk remedies can provide significant assistance during the qualified treatment of the disease in question, reduce the load on the liver and support the work of all other organs. It is recommended to use the following :
- Decoction of oats.Oat grain should be filled with water( for 1 tablespoon grains 200 ml of water) and boil over low heat for 30-50 minutes.Then decoction is filtered and taken before eating food for ¼ cup.
- Watermelon juice.It should be eaten several times a day, in total a daily dose should be 3 glasses.In a watermelon juice it is desirable to add a spoonful of honey.
- Propolis oil.You need to take half a teaspoon of propolis, mix with boiling butter( 200 g) and steam for a half hour in a water bath.The finished product should be consumed 2-3 times a day on a tablespoon.
Liver cancer is a serious disease, which in most cases ends for the patient as a fatal outcome.But if the diagnosis was done on time( here it is - the benefits of regular examinations for doctors!), Specialists have prescribed treatment and the patient strictly follows all recommendations and appointments, then the forecast can be quite favorable.
Tsygankova Yana Aleksandrovna, medical reviewer, therapist of the highest qualification category