Primary liver cancer is not very common but, in latest years, growing disease. Hepatic cancer is a cancer which develops in liver itself but not migrate from the others cancerous lesions. Normally, it is associated with other chronicle liver diseases, especially, with cirrhosis. It is life threatening condition that needs immediate measures to reduce the risks it further development.
Early you could hardly notice symptoms of developing hepatic cancer as it, similar to many others malignant diseases, starts developing asymptomatically. The first signs you are able to notice are:
- Pain in the right upper part of abdominal area
- Loss of appetite
- Sickness and vomiting
- Enlarged liver that is possible to feel
With time some other symptoms appear as:
- Yellowish skin and the whites of the eyes
- Feeling full after small portion if meal
- Weight loss without any other reason
- Itching skin
- Fatigue and weakness
Sometimes liver tumor can result in quite specific symptoms in men as
- Gynecomastia (enlarged breast in men)
- Testicular shrinkage
Those symptoms are explained by hormonal changes caused by liver tumor.
Women can notice such sings of possible hepatic cancer as white or pale fingernails.
In Stage 4 (advanced) liver cancer metastases are spread from initial source throughout the body to distant parts or/and invade lymph nodes. The symptoms of advanced cancer depend on which organ is affected.
Abdomen. You may have fluid in abdominal area which makes you feeling swollen and uncomfortable.
Obstruction. If cancer occupied the bowel it can lead to obstruction when tumor blocks intestinal lumen.
Lymphatic metastases. Lymph nodes become swollen and pain.
Kidney problems. Secondary tumor in kidney can cause ureters blockage and stop urine flowing.
Bones. If metastases spread to the bones it leads to the bone pain and makes the bones fragile and easy fractured.
Brain. When cancer spread to the brain it results in multiply symptoms including headache, inability moving, seizures, and difficulties seeing, hearing and speaking.
Lungs. Breath shortage is one of the main symptoms of metastases in the lungs.
Secondary liver cancer unlike primary one is a result of migration of cancerous cells from another location which is primary source of malignant disease. It does not have any special symptoms but common as:
- General weakness of the body
- Night sweat and fever
- Sickness and weight loss and others
In final stage of liver cancer the following symptoms develop:
- Jaundice (yellow tincture of skin and eyes)
- Poor blood clotting (as liver could not support it anymore)
- Fluid in abdomen
- Brain dysfunction (partial or complete)
There are a number different diagnostic techniques and what to choose depends on many factors as disease degree, general health condition of a patient, cancer location and others. A doctor starts from evaluating physical examination of the patient and necessary Lab tests.
A few blood tests could be done as general, biochemical, and a test for presence AFP agent which is a good indicator of presence of hepatic cancer.
When laboratorial test allow determining cancer by changing chemistry, the other means as ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, and angiography help to find a tumor location and estimate its size. For the same purposes in Germany laparoscopy is also used, which is examination of inner space with telescopic tube. The advantage of the method is that it could combine diagnostics and surgical treatment in one session. With that minimally invasive technique it is possible to perform sparing liver resection.
Biopsy is a most reliable method to reveal abnormal cells in tissues sampling.
The method of diagnostic and treatment is always chosen individually. If you do not know what is preferable in your case you can ask professionals.
It is not possible to cope with liver cancer alone and for successful treatment you need professional help in specialized cancer center. German clinics offer comprehensive approach and help of expert in the different fields of cancer treatment. Depending of disease degree and patient’s priority it is possible to have consultation with an oncologist, cancer surgeon, radiologist, specialist in chemotherapy and others physicians in related fields. Using the services of GMG you can ask expert a question on any of your problem. Stay in touch with best doctors of your choice with support of GMG.