Aware of the Disease and the Risks:
Liver cancer otherwise known as hepatic cancer, starts primarily in the liver and the most common type is hepatocellular carcinoma. Worldwide, there are many risk factors responsible for this.
- Cirrhosis, a condition in which liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue and the liver does not function properly, leads to liver cancer;
- Chronic infection with hepatitis B and C virus that leads to cirrhosis;
- Birth defects;
- Excessive alcohol intake.;
- Obesity and Diabetes – excess fat being deposited in the liver.
In the United States, the common cause of liver cancer is infection with hepatitis C.
What are the symptoms?
Signs and symptoms not to be felt until the later stages of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms are unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, an enlarged liver, swelling and pain in the abdomen, itching, nausea or vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), back pain.
How to diagnose?
It can be diagnosed through a blood test, ultrasound, imaging scans like MRI or CT scan or through biopsy. Ultrasound is the first test with the usage of sound waves to create an image of tumors growing in the liver on a video screen. A small sample of the tumor cells removed to conduct a biopsy test to confirm.
Latest Research Advancements:
With the advancement in the medical technology, continuous research going on in treating liver cancer. Though removal of the affected portion through surgery can be an effective form of treatment, it will not work out to all the patients. Scientists are looking out for causes and innovative treatment methods to cure it. Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors such as the patient’s overall health, the stage of cancer, the severity of the damage caused to the remaining areas of the liver etc. The following areas of research may include new advanced options for patients through clinical trials.
Brachytherapy – In this advanced method, catheters are placed directly in the tumor giving a high radiation dose to the tumor wherein the radiation exposure in the surrounding healthy tissues will be reduced and will not create any harm.
Chemotherapy advances – Newer therapies are targeted only to destroy specific cancer cells. Instead of giving chemo alone, it is given along with combination therapy that can shrink a tumor to enable doctors to perform surgery safely.
Ablation Techniques – Instead of removing the tumor, this ablation therapy kills it with hot or cold energy.
Liver Transplant – This is an effective treatment where a surgery is performed to replace a diseased liver with a healthier one from a donor.
Can this disease be preventable? – Obviously it can be preventable. The most significant risk factor for this, is chronic infection with HBV and HCV viruses which can be spread by sharing contaminated needles and also by having unprotected sex. Excessive alcohol consumption is also one of the main causes. You can lower your risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, weight control, and a healthy diet. It is also important to avoid infection with the hepatitis viruses.
Increase Awareness to Prevent:
Liver cancer is treatable and sometimes even curable when it is detected early. So it is important to be aware of the risk factors and also the latest treatment options. Organize an awareness campaign in your community to make people understand about the disease, the importance of early diagnosis and the preventive measures to be adopted. To increase exposure and awareness, support your campaign with some awareness giveaway gifts. Though there are many products available in the market, using customized items like silicone wristbands with an awareness message will go a long way. You will get these in different colors, fonts, sizes, and styles and people love to wear these stylish and fashion accessories on a daily basis.