Hepatitis is a condition which results in an inflammation of the liver. There can be many reasons for this, drugs, chemicals, genetic conditions, poor immunity system, and viruses. Hepatitis can be acute, and can get sorted out in just few weeks, or it might be chronic, where it can last for few years, and can even lead to death. Amongst the common hepatitis are, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, the cause, symptoms, and treatment of which are discussed below.
Hepatitis B is the result of Hepatitis B virus, and any one can be affected by it. After a short-term affliction, it can also pave way for chronic Hepatitis B. The most general way by which the virus gets transmitted, is, by getting into contact with the fluid or blood of a person who is already suffering from that disease. If one indulges in unprotected sex with a person suffering from Hepatitis B, he/she too can be affected by the same. Yet another reason due to which one can suffer from Hepatitis B is the Intra-Venous drug use. Open skin lesions can also cause the same. There is a 2-6 months incubation stage that the virus goes through. The Hepatitis B virus is very contagious, and can remain stable even for weeks, outside the body.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the cancer of the liver. It is also called “hepatoma”. Hepatocellular carcinoma is commonly seen in people at the age of 50 to 60 years old. This disease is also more common in Africa and Asia than other parts of the world.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the liver cancer that arises from the liver itself. It is not the same as the metastatic liver cancer which is a cancer that comes from the other organs of the body and spread to the liver.
The most common cause of the hepatocellular carcinoma is the scarring of the liver due to alcohol abuse, hepatitis B, hemochromatosis or iron overload, autoimmune diseases, as well as diseases that causes inflammation of the liver.
This type of liver cancer is more often seen in men. This is probably because men are more prone to alcohol abuse. People with hepatitis B and C are also at higher risk of this liver cancer. Here are the most common symptoms of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Signs and symptoms:
Enlarged abdomen – one of the first things that is noticeable in liver cancer patients are swelling of the abdomen part.
Tenderness in the abdomen – another very obvious symptom of this condition is abdominal pain or in the upper right part of the abdomen. The pain can range from moderate to excruciating.
Yellowish skin and eyes – liver cancer patients would also have yellowish overall body skin and eyes or what we call the “jaundice”.
Easily bruised – liver cancer patients are also noticeably easily bruised. They would also bleed easier.
Fever – the person with this cancer would also develop fever along with all the symptoms.
Lost of appetite – like other cancers, a person suffering from liver cancer may also lose his or her appetite as well.
Rapid weight loss – since the liver is one of the major organs of the body that helps maintain its overall health, liver cancer can cause a person lose weight fast.
Even if a person shows all these symptoms, before concluding that the condition is hepatocellular carcinoma, a few tests should be done first.
Liver enzyme tests
Serum alpha fetoprotein
Several blood tests
Once a person is diagnosed with this type of cancer, all treatments would be discussed by the doctor. The most common form of treatment that early diagnosed patients are prescribed is surgery. This will be able to get rid of the tumors in the liver. However, most patients are not diagnosed as early and surgery for late stages of the cancer will not work.
If surgery is not an option anymore, chemotherapy and other radiation treatments are the other choices. Nexavar, an oral treatment, is also effective in blocking the growth of the tumor for approved patients.
All in all, the Hepatocellular carcinoma is as serious as other types of cancer. If you are feeling any of these symptoms, it is best to seek help as early as you can so you can prevent the cancer from spreading.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma, which is much more commonly known as cancer of the liver is a disease that is common in Africa and Asia but still has cases in North and South America and in Europe. Hepatocellular Carcinoma is differentiated from other types of liver cancer such as metastatic liver cancer, which begins in the breast, colon or another organ and then eventually reaches the liver. This type of liver cancer is instead often causes by scarring of the liver, known as cirrhosis. There are several different possible causes of cirrhosis.
Your liver is a vital organ in the body that is responsible for many different jobs. The liver help metabolize food to energy as well as detoxifies the body and helps to synthesize protein and other chemicals that are required for digestion. Also, the liver helps to store glycogen, decomposes red blood cells and produces certain hormones. The liver is very simply one of the most important organs in the body and unlike an appendix, we cannot survive without a liver. If the liver fails to function, or is destroyed, then the victim must rely on a transplant.
The type of liver cancer that Hepatocellular Carcinoma is can be attributed to Liver Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver which is often caused by alcohol abuse. The long term effects of alcohol are devastating to the liver, and it is the number one cause of liver cancer in the United States. Other factors that can cause Cirrhosis include some autoimmune diseases of the liver, and diseases that affect the liver such as those that cause inflammation over a long period of time. Also, Hepatitis B and C can scar the liver as can an abundance of iron in the body.
Symptoms of this disease include pain in the abdomen, or tenderness in that area, usually in a specific spot in the upper right hand side. Also, if you bruise or bleed easily this can be a sign of this type of liver cancer. An enlarged or swollen abdomen can be a symptom as well and jaundice is a common symptom, which can include yellow skin and eyes. Doctors may do additional tests to determine whether or not these symptoms actually mean liver cancer including an Abdominal CT or Ultrasound, a Liver Biopsy, liver scan or liver enzyme test.
Treatment for Hepatocellular Carcinoma includes surgery or a liver transplant, as long as the tumors are small and the cancer is diagnoses early enough. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments may be prescribed even though they are not often effective on this type of cancer. They may instead be used to shrink large tumors for surgery. Nexavar, or Sorafenib Tosylate is a medication that is often prescribed for this type of cancer, which is taken orally and inhibits tumor growth. This is a very difficult form of cancer to treat and only between ten and twenty percent of patients recover, since the Hepatolcellular Carinomas are difficult to remove. If the cancer cannot be removed then patients usually have between three and six months.