Thursday, 31 May 2012

Liver Cancer, Description And Causes


The liver, the largest gland in the body, plays a key role in keeping us alive. Among its many functions include the storage of vitamins and nutrients, the synthesis of proteins essential for blood clotting and secretion of bile for digestion. It also contributes to the decomposition and filtration of toxins in the blood.

There are two types of liver cancer:

the primary cancer appears first in the liver and can spread to other organs. Hepatocellular carcinoma is primary liver cancer the most common;
metastatic liver cancer is a cancer that originated in another part of the body and then spread to the liver. Cancer cells from another organ can easily reach the liver through the blood stream, given the role of the liver filter. The first sites of these cancers are usually the colon, pancreas, stomach, breast or lung.
In general, liver cancer is diagnosed in people over 60 years. In Canada, the diagnosis of liver cancer is asked each year to about 1,800 people, and this condition affects more men than women.

Liver cancer Causes

The causes of liver cancer are still unknown, but some risk factors have been identified, including:
  • chronic hepatitis B or C;
  • liver cirrhosis;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • exposure to certain toxins, such as certain types of fungi (aflatoxin), vinyl chloride, anabolic steroids, and arsenic;
  • smoking.
  • Symptoms and Complications
Liver cancer can go undetected for a long time before signs of abnormalities occur. Most of the following symptoms result from damage to the liver :
  • ascites - an accumulation of fluid around the liver and intestines;
  • jaundice - yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes;
  • a fever;
  • fatigue;
  • weakness;
  • nausea;
  • abdominal pain;
  • loss of appetite;
  • weight loss;
  • of confusion;
  • back pain in the abdomen or around the right shoulder blade;
  • the presence of a hard mass in the chest;
  • dark urine;
  • gray stool;
  • internal bleeding.

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