Liver Cancer

15 December, 2020

Do you know about the major cause of liver cancer? Well, liver scarring (or cirrhosis) caused due to hepatitis B or C infection or excessive consumption of alcohol is the main culprit.

Generally, around 80% of primary liver cancers are the result of an infection caused by hepatitis B or C virus. This virus may harm your health for several years and further leads to liver cirrhosis. People are usually infected by any physical touch to the bodily fluids or blood of an already infected person.

Often people with hepatitis B or C virus are infected by:

  • Sharing non-sterilized needs

  • Blood transfusion, if transfusion took place before 1992 (as after that donated blood is screened for the virus)

  • Unprotected sex

Since primary liver cancer developed due to this virus grows slowly over three decades, you can follow a few steps to get screened for identifying the infection and preventing it from reaching the advanced stage. In case you’re diagnosed with liver cancer, it’s best to consult the best hepatologist for getting the best treatment for liver cancer in RGCIRC.

Who are at higher risk of developing liver cancer?

Patients who are at higher risk of developing liver cancer are:

  • Anyone with conditions like chronic hepatitis B virus, obesity, chronic viral hepatitis and NAFLD.

  • Anyone with a family history of liver diseases. Therefore, they must get themselves screened and diagnosed with this condition.

Three Ways to Prevent Liver Cancer

Following a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce the risk of liver cancer. Therefore, you need to do regular exercises, eat a healthy diet with reduced alcohol consumption and control your weight.

For preventing the chances of developing primary liver cancer, here are the three main things to follow:

1. Prevention against Hepatitis B and C Infection

If hepatitis B is not treated, it may cause liver scarring or cirrhosis, liver cancer, or liver failure. Therefore, you must take proper vaccines for hepatitis B infection to reduce the risk of this condition. To know whether or not you’re at the risk of developing hepatitis B or C infection, you should undergo a screening test.

If you are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B, you need to undergo antiviral therapy that will decrease the risk of developing liver cancer or slow down the growth of any liver disease. While the hepatitis C vaccine doesn’t exist, patients can get the right treatment to cure this condition.

In the case of chronic hepatitis, you need to visit your doctor regularly to get proper surveillance with imaging tests like CT, MRI or ultrasound.

2. Quit Alcohol Consumption:

All alcoholic beverages contain ethanol for metabolizing the liver. The by-products of ethanol metabolism are free radicals and acetaldehyde. The released free radicals can easily bind to cellular targets, which are components of DNA and cell signalling passageways. Furthermore, acetaldehyde damages DNA and also depletes glutathione that’s an essential antioxidant required for detoxification.

Ethanol metabolism is even linked to pathways that are associated with the activation of altered immune responses, changes in the cell cycle and pro-carcinogens. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the impact of alcohol consumption on the liver. Alcohol also causes alcoholic fatty liver, which is reversed by abstinence and cessation from alcohol consumption.

Alcoholic hepatitis is further characterized by fat deposition in scarring and inflammation of cells and hepatic cells. This condition has symptoms like nausea, appetite loss, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice. The best way to prevent you from alcohol-based liver diseases is to stop alcohol consumption, as there’s no specific limit for consuming alcohol for preventing cancer. If a person with alcohol-based cirrhosis does not quit drinking, there are less than 50% chances of living for them in the next five years.

3. Primary Liver Cancer Screening

Liver cirrhosis and some other chronic liver diseases like chronic hepatitis B make you more likely to develop liver scarring or inflammation that may lead to liver cancer.

With an accurate liver surveillance programme and regular screening tests, you can identify liver cancer at an early stage. When the disease is detected at an early stage, you have more chances of treating cancer.

So, these were some common and easy ways to prevent the development of liver cancer in people who are at higher risk.

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