Liver cancer is difficult to detect, easy to die

Liver cancer in the first stage progresses silently, difficult to detect, patients come to the examination when the disease progresses to a late stage, difficult to treat.

Liver cancer is the 6th most common cancer in the world with over 900,000 people diagnosed each year. According to data from the Global Cancer Organization (GLOBOCAN) in 2020, every year around the world, there are about 905,677 new cases of liver cancer and 830,130 deaths.

In 2020, Vietnam recorded 26,418 new cases of liver cancer, accounting for 14.5%, the highest among common cancers and especially the death rate due to this disease is nearly equivalent to the number of people infected with this disease. 25,272 cases.

Liver cancer includes primary and secondary liver cancer. Secondary liver cancer is caused by cancer cells in other parts of the body entering the liver causing metastatic tumors. Primary liver cancer is a malignancy of the liver that occurs when the liver’s normal cells become abnormal in shape and function. The growing cancer cells affect the normal adjacent tissue and can spread to other areas of the liver as well as to organs outside the liver.

Primary liver cancer includes three main types: hepatocellular carcinoma (which develops from liver cells), biliary tract carcinoma (which develops from the biliary tract in the liver) and hepatoblastoma (hepatoblastoma). In which, HCC is the most common.

Doctor, Dr. Pham Tuan Anh, Deputy Head of the Faculty of Requesting Treatment, Hospital K said the cause of liver cancer has not been clearly identified up to now. However, some factors may increase the risk of disease such as sex (more common in men than women), people with chronic liver disease (cirrhosis), fatty liver, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, obesity, aflatoxin poisoning caused by mold …. In addition, the cause of liver cancer can be related to environmental factors, the abuse of alcohol and tobacco in the diet. …

Liver cancer in its early stages is often very difficult to detect. Most patients come to the doctor when the disease has progressed to a late stage, making it difficult to treat. In the early stage, there may be symptoms of chronic hepatitis or advanced cirrhosis such as anorexia, pain, severe right lower ribs, bloating, jaundice …

In the later stage, the above symptoms are more obvious, or complications of the disease appear as unexplained weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, always feeling itchy, passing out. white or faded stools.

Liver cancer usually has not clear early stage symptoms. Image: Drug Target

Treatment for liver cancer is multimodial, the choice of treatment for liver cancer must depend on the extent of the damage and cirrhosis, how common liver cancer treatments are. including: surgery, liver transplantation, local tumor destruction, liver artery chemical node, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted therapy …

The lifespan of liver cancer patients depends on many factors such as the stage of the disease, the level of progression, the health status and the tolerance of the body. The best way to prolong life is to follow your doctor’s treatment regimen, take good physical and mental care.

Dr Tuan Anh said, liver cancer is still an obsession for many people because the prognosis is more difficult than other cancers, especially this disease is increasing in Vietnam. The best way to prevent and detect liver cancer is to have a routine physical examination of the liver ultrasound every 6 months, especially in patients with high risk factors such as cirrhosis, chronic alcoholic hepatitis, inflammation. Hepatitis B virus, C … In addition, full vaccination to prevent hepatitis B, avoid exposure to toxic chemicals that easily damage the liver to reduce the risk of disease. When liver cancer is suspected, the doctor will order blood tests, tomography exam, liver biopsy … to make accurate conclusions.

Thuy Quynh