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Hepatocellular Cancer

more about Hepatocellular Cancer

Liver Cancer


  • This is a disease process involving toxins that chronically inflame the liver, increasing the risk of liver cancer.

  • Sudden deterioration in patients with cirrhosis or liver disease, specifically, weight loss, weakness, and abdominal swelling (ascites)

  • A tender and enlarged liver
  • Mass in the liver may be felt
  • Bruit or friction rub over tumor
  • Laboratory:

- Alpha-fetoprotein levels are elevated in 60% of the cases

  • Occasionally present:
    1. Elevated white blood cell count
    2. Elevated hematocrit due to the tumor secreting erythropoietin
    3. Elevated alkaline phosphatase
  • Imaging:
    1. Arteriography -- dye is injected and x-rays taken, often diagnostic, to show a tumor "blush"
    2. CT scan with intravenous contrast
    3. MRI
    4. A liver biopsy is diagnostic

  • Surgical resection for small, localized tumors can be curative.
  • Chemo-embolization (chemotherapy directed directly though the hepatic artery) may relieve symptoms.
  • Injection of small tumor with absolute ethanol.

  • Metastatic colon cancer
  • Liver cell adenoma
  • Focal nodular hyperplasia

  • Staging (spread of disease)
    1. T1 -- tumor less than 2 cm
    2. T2 -- tumor less than 2cm that invades the blood vessels
    3. T3 tumor -- any tumor greater than 2 cm that invades the blood vessels, creating multiple tumors, no matter the size.  Or any tumor greater than 2 cm (regardless of whether it invades the blood vessels) in one liver lobe.
    4. T4 -- multiple tumors in more than one liver lobe.

more about Hepatocellular Cancer

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