Lung cancer. (Source: Shutterstock)
Primary liver cancer
Definition of primary liver cancer
Liver tumours are cancerous tumours that are located in or on the liver.
Different types of tumours can arise in the liver because it is built from different cell types. These growth processes can be benign or malignant.
The liver is the most important detoxification organ in the body, and plays an exceptionally important role in cancer types. Also because of the impact on all metabolic processes such as fat metabolism, or of the construction of sugar, the liver is crucial. For this reason, the type of detoxification measures taken against liver disease plays a much more important role than in other types of cancer. All measures must be taken to excrete and avoid toxins. The focus for liver cancer should be less on destruction of the tumour, and totally on detoxification.
Symptoms of primary liver cancer
In the early stages a patient mostly suffers from a right-sided upper abdominal pain, and in rare cases this is accompanied by fever. Patients are icteric (i.e. they have jaundice) and complain of fatigue, weight loss, and abdominal discomfort. An ascites (an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity) can also develop. The liver is usually enlarged and hard.
In most cases, liver tumours are metastatic of other tumours, most commonly from the gastrointestinal tract, especially from colorectal cancer (colon cancer).
Diagnosis of primary liver cancer
The diagnosis is made sonographically or using computer tomography. The tumour marker AFP is often high. The discovery of the tumour is often accidental, or discovered because of its size (hepatomegaly), due to abdominal pain, jaundice, or other liver disorders.
If the tumor is small and localized, it can be removed eventually by a liver resection. Due to the great ability to regenerate, the liver grows back so quickly that the loss of volume can usually be compensated for.