Liver Cancer Treatment
Liver cancer is a cancer that starts in the heart, and not from other organs that eventually makes its way to the liver. In other words, there may be a cancer that started somewhere else and ended up in the liver - if this is so, then it is called liver cancer.

Cancer originating elsewhere and eventually reaches the liver is known as secondary liver cancer, and the most common are gastrointestinal cancer (colon cancer), lung cancer, kidney cancer (kidney cancer), ovarian cancer and prostate cancer. Cancer originating in the liver is known as primary liver cancer.


Ababolic steroids - used by athletes and weight lifters. The hormones of men, if used continuously can increase the risk of developing liver cancer, as well as several other types of cancer.

1. Aflatoxin 

It is a substance made by a fungus and can be found in moldy foods: wheat, peanuts, corn, beans, soybeans and peanuts. If someone eats moldy food in the long term, the more at risk of developing liver cancer. It may happen in some poor countries than in industrialized countries.

2. Cirrhosis 

Liver surface can form lumps like acne prone skin. People with liver cirrhosis have a higher risk of developing liver cancer.

3. Diabetes 

People with diabetes, especially if they also suffer from hepatitis, or continuously consume a lot of alcohol, more at risk of liver cancer.

4. Family history 

Those who have a mother, father, brother, or sister with liver cancer have a higher risk of developing it compared to others.

5. Disadvantages L - carnitine 

Studies have shown that a deficiency of L - carnitine increases the risk of developing liver cancer. L-carnitine function is to assist the transport of fatty acids across the membrane of mitochondria (the energy production center at the cellular level) which alter fat reserves in the body into energy.

6. Hepatitis B or C 

People with hepatitis B or C have a higher risk of developing liver cancer, compared to other healthy people. According to the American Cancer Society, hepatitis C is the most common cause of liver cancer in the United States. People mentioned that some inherited liver disease also increases the risk of liver cancer.

7. Low immunity 

People with weakened immune systems, such as people with HIV / AIDS have an increased risk of liver cancer are five times more likely than other healthy individuals.

8. Obesity 

Obesity increases the risk of cancer, including liver cancer.

9. Gender 

The percentage of men's higher risk of developing liver cancer than women. Some experts believe this is not because of the sex, but the lifestyle characteristics - on average, men tend to smoke and abuse alcohol than women.

10. Smoking 

Individuals with hepatitis B or C have a higher risk of developing liver cancer if they smoke.

11. The well water with arsenic 

People who rely on well water had arsenic may eventually have a higher risk of developing a number of conditions or diseases, including liver cancer. Arsenic is a toxic substance that is odorless and tasteless.


Before suggesting treatment options for you, doctors usually need to know the stage of liver cancer.

There are four stages of liver cancer:

Stage I: liver cancer is local and can be removed/inoperable. The tumor is 2 cm or less, located in a single area of the liver and can be done surgically.

Stage II: Liver cancer is still localized and amenable to surgery. At this stage, the cancer is present in one or more locations in the liver but did not spread to the lymph nodes or blood vessels adjacent.

Stage III: at this stage, the cancer has not spread to other organs or lymph nodes. Usually the size of the tumor is> 2 cm.

Stage IV: In this stage, the cancer is present in more than one lobe of the liver, may have already spread to the lymph nodes adjacent, other organs (but not the gallbladder) and structures (such as the peritoneum) and grow into or around the vessel The main blood.


Liver cancer, if not diagnosed early is much more difficult to cure. The only way to know if you have liver cancer early on is through examination, because you will not have symptoms.

Unfortunately, because symptoms do not appear until well advanced liver cancer, is now only a fraction of patients with HCC can be cured, according to the National Health Service (January 2010), only about 5%. 


Liver cancer treatment varies from patient to patient. The treatment approach is tailored to the needs of patients and consider the following factors: (1) the tumor size and location, (2) the stage of cancer, (3) the general state of health of the patient, and (4) the age of cancer

Treatment options for liver cancer are:


Surgery is an action that the success rate is quite high, especially for patients with liver tumor size is small (less than 5 cm). Two common types of surgery to treat liver cancer are: hepatectomy and liver transplantation. But if the tumor had spread beyond the liver (lymph nodes, etc.), surgery may be less effective.

The types of surgery for liver cancer patients:

a). Partial hepatectomy
surgical just remove the tumor only (part of the liver).

b). Total hepatectomy
a complex operation in which the entire heart / liver will be removed. This procedure is followed by a liver transplant because the body can not live without a heart

c). Liver transplantation
This surgical procedure involves two steps. Liver/healthy liver will be taken from the donor (the person brain dead) and then implanted into the body to replace the liver / liver damaged patients. Liver transplantation is classified as acts quite costly.

The main side effects including liver transplantation:
  • The risk of infection is high.
  • Bleeding caused by the inability of the liver to produce new blood clotting protein
  • Freezing in the major blood vessels that supply blood to the liver
  • Rejection of the transplanted heart (not accepted by the body)

d). Cryosurgery
is a minimally invasive procedure (to kill cancer cells by frozen), substantially minimize pain and scarring after surgery so that patients recover faster. However there are some associated risks, such as damage to nearby healthy tissue and nerve tissue.

d). Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
is the least invasive method other high success rate in elevating liver cancer. This method works to kill cancer cells by "cooking" them. The trick is: an electric discharge through a radio frequency to the liver to remove the tumor.


Radiotherapy uses X-ray particles to destroy liver cancer cells. Liver cancer patients can receive radiation therapy through some form. 
  1. External radiation: using an external device (linear accelerator) to produce X-rays that are focused on liver tumor 
  2. Internal radiation: the radioactive particles embedded in seeds, wires, needles or catheters that are placed in the tumor tissue. 
  3. Radio-labeled antibodies: use a radioactive substance attached to an artificial antibody to kill cancer cells.

The side effects of radiotherapy include: chronic fatigue, skin irritation (skin to become red, dry, or soft in the exposure area), loss of appetite and susceptible to infection.


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy for liver cancer can be given in pill form, intravenous infusion or injected directly into the tumor site (so-called regional chemotherapy). Advantages of regional chemotherapy is to reduce chemotherapy side effects on healthy cells.

a. Chemotherapy side effects include
easily infected, easy bruising / bleeding, limp, hair loss, mouth sores and bleeding gums, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

b). Types of regional chemotherapy, among others:

  • Hepatic Artery Chemoembolization: This treatment uses anticancer drugs that are injected into the hepatic artery to block blood flow that goes to the heart / liver. This blockage may be temporary or permanent, and allows the drug to kill cancer cells by stopping the supply of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the tumor. However, this approach does not damage other parts of the liver, which continues to receive blood from the portal vein. The most common side effects of this method is are: nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, fatigue, infection or a problem with a pump device (used).

  • Hepatic Arterial Infusion: a treatment option in which chemotherapeutic agents infused into the hepatic artery. Drugs are periodically inserted through the catheter.

  • Isolated Liver Perfusion: This method is still in clinical trials. The goal is to expose the liver with high doses of chemotherapy in which the blood supply to the heart is temporarily stopped. This treatment requires a complex operation in which a catheter inserted into the hepatic artery, and portal vein and liver vein.

  • Percutaneous Ethanol Injection: is an innovative procedure with low mortality where liver cancer killed by ethanol (alcohol). This substance is injected into the tumor. Alcohol destroys the tumor with cancer cells dehydrate and alter the structure of the cellular protein. The most common side effects of this treatment are fever and pain caused by leakage of alcohol on the surface of the heart and into the abdominal cavity.

  • Portal vein embolization: is a treatment approach in which the supply of portal vein blockages. This treatment has two advantages: 1) substantially reduces one part of the heart (where the tumor is usually located) and 2) causes liver is left to grow. Embolization method is a step of pre-surgery for patients who require surgery but the tumor size is too large to be removed.


Liver cancer is quite resistant to most chemotherapy drugs. To overcome this, it has developed a new drug (target therapy) such as Sorafenib (Nexavar®). However, these drugs are still very expensive (USD 5000+ per month) and still needs to be studied its effectiveness in treating liver cancer, particularly advanced liver cancer.
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