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Rise In Liver Cancers: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

The incidence of liver cancer increased by about 75 percent from 1990.The primary causes of liver cancer include infections with hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), alcohol consumption, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and other factors.  

HBV and HCV are the major causes of liver cancer but in the recent years, the rise has also been attributed to the increasing incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

 Over the past 30 years, there has been a progressive rise in the incidence and mean age of beginning of liver cancer, regardless of the underlying cause. 

The majority of those who get liver cancer have chronic liver disease (also called chronic liver disease). A person's risk of developing liver cancer rises if they have chronic liver disease.

Typically, liver cancer does not exhibit any signs on its own. Some individuals may have a lump or little pain in the upper abdomen, feel full quickly after starting to eat, or lose weight. 

Others might have symptoms that are caused by the liver disease they had before they got cancer. Those symptoms can get worse or come back because of the cancer which  include yellowish discolouration of the skin, stomach bloating, and foot swelling. 

Liver cancer can be treated in different ways. Treatment depends on the stage of your cancer. It also depends on how healthy your liver is (in other words, how serious your liver disease was before you got cancer). The different treatments include: 

Surgery:  Sometimes liver cancer can be treated with surgery to remove the part of the liver with the cancer. 

Liver transplant: A liver transplant is a type of surgery in where a doctor replaces a diseased liver with a healthy liver from another person. 

Ablation therapy: Ablation therapy is a procedure that can kill cancer cells in the liver and It does not involve surgery. Doctors can do ablation therapy in different ways. They can kill the cancer cells using heat, microwaves, a laser, or radiation therapy. 

Blocking the cancer's blood supply:  Doctors can do a procedure called "embolization" to block off the blood vessel that sends blood to the cancer. By "starving" the cancer of its blood supply, this prevents the disease from spreading. Sometimes, chemotherapy ("chemoembolization") or radiation are coupled with the embolization technique ("radioembolization"). 

Immunotherapy: This is the term doctors use for medicines that work with the body's infection-fighting system (the "immune system") to stop cancer growth. 

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the medical term for medicines which kill cancer cells or stop them from rising.  

After treatment, frequent check-ups are done to see if the cancer comes back. Regular follow up tests which includes exams, blood tests, and imaging tests. It is imperative to maintain a regular follow up with your doctor, especially if someone is suffering from chronic hepatitis or have established chronic liver disease.

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